Statement by the
Honourable Kathy Dunderdale
Minister of Natural Resources
May 14, 2007

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to inform members of the House of Assembly that my department is seeking proposals from those interested in pursuing the development of the forest products industry in central Labrador.

The formal call for Expressions of Interest will allow us to assess the level and type of interest in the harvesting, sawmilling and secondary processing sectors in this region.

Mr. Speaker, we released in November the Strategic Plan to Develop Labrador Secondary Manufacturing and Value Added Wood Products Industry.
The independent study identified potential forestry operations based on the constraints and opportunities in the Labrador forest sector.

The study recommends the establishment of a sawmill and manufacturing plant in Happy Valley-Goose Bay to produce construction lumber and packaged homes both for local and northern markets.

At the time the study was released, we established a senior management team with representation from a number of governments departments to work through the issues identified in the study. This included the viability of the recommendations, identification of investors and proponents.

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to inform members today that as a result of this work, we are now ready to explore the capacity of local interests to develop this sector. The proposals we receive through this process will be evaluated against their linkage to the recommendations in the study.

The forest sector in Labrador holds opportunities for development and we are now attempting to determine the interest in pursuing projects that hold the most promise. We look forward receiving the proposals and to see work start on the creation of a new diversified industry in Labrador for the benefit of the people of Labrador.

Mr. Speaker, we have consulted with interest holders in Labrador at every step in this process and we believe that with the right strategic approach, the forest industry in Labrador has a positive future. Thank you.

Tracy Barron
Director of Communications
Department of Natural Resources
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
(709) 729-5282 or 690-8241

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