Plan to Restart a Northern Ontario OSB Mill Comes With $180 Million Investment

The Cossette family, a well-known Québec-based forestry family, which has operated Montreal-headquartered Forex since 1957, announced on Monday (4-11-22) that it was investing $180 million (CAD) to restart a shuttered OSB plant in Northern Ontario and hire approximately 140 people to staff it.

On the same day, the Province of Ontario announced it was investing in a grant of up to $15 million (CAD) in the project. The province said its funding is conditional on Wawa OSB Inc. completing project milestones, finalizing a funding contract between it and the province, and establishing relationships with local Indigenous and municipal communities, as well as local Sustainable Forest License holders.

According to the province, once the project is completed, it will generate almost $260 million in GDP and an annual stumpage revenue of over $4.7 million.

Yolaine Rousseau, Wawa OSB Inc.’s Executive Vice-President, said in a press release that the provincial investment was “a key first step in financing our project.”

“The Cossette family is very excited about creating jobs in Northern Ontario and increasing our production capacity to better serve North American customers,” Rousseau continued. “I would like to reiterate our commitment to working with the various stakeholders, including the First Nations in the territory. Our team is proud and grateful to the Government of Ontario for recognizing the importance of this project to the province, and we will continue our discussions with the Government of Canada to obtain their support as well.”

Built in the mid-1990s, the Wawa plant produced OSB until 2007. In 2013, after being acquired by California-based Rentech, the plant was converted to a pellet mill but closed again just four years later, in 2017, after Rentech declared bankruptcy. The plant has remained idled since then.

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