The Irving Pulp & Paper mill is in the midst of what could be the largest modernization project in Canada since 1993, and yet the daily operation of the Saint John, N.B., mill continues. “We have not had a single break in production,” said mill manager Cory Gallant. “Despite the incredible amount of construction activity on site, we have remained fully functional with over 340 employees producing pulp products every day for markets at home and abroad.” Gallant says excellent communication between mill employees and project leaders has made the difference.
“Around here we say we have two groups on site, but one team,” Gallant said.
Mark Fitzpatrick is a project manager with the mill’s parent company, J.D. Irving. He credits partnerships and planning to the ongoing success of the $450-million pulp mill modernization. Daily, weekly, and monthly project plans are shared with all stakeholders, including mill operations, construction contractors, engineering companies, and equipment vendors. “Everybody brings expertise and experience to the table, and to leverage that you need to include folks, and that will always result in making a good plan an excellent plan,” Fitzpatrick said.
The current phase of the modernization project has created about 450 direct and indirect construction jobs on-site. To date, JDI has awarded over $64 million in contracts to 124 New Brunswick companies.
The Pulp & Paper Mill is a central part of JDI’s forest products business which spends over $400 million in annual purchases in New Brunswick, supporting over 1700 suppliers across 250 communities in the province.
Irving pulp products are shipped to 20 countries around the globe and sustain a vital road, rail, and sea transportation hub in Saint John.