THUNDER BAY — Resolute Forest Products says its Thunder Bay sawmill has passed a significant milestone.

The mill has now processed more than four billion board feet of construction-grade lumber.

First opened in 2003 by Abitibi-Consolidated, the mill is located on Fort William First Nation land, and employs many members of the community.

It was the first mill in Canada to work under regulations created by the federal First Nations Commercial and Industrial Development Act, which facilitates industrial development with First Nations on their land.

In 2018, Resolute invested $11 million in the facility to modernize the planer line and optimize its regional sawmill operations.

Mill manager Terry Ouellet said, “I would especially like to acknowledge our longest-standing employees, some of whom were around to see the very first board foot produced in 2003 and are still with us to witness this impressive milestone.”

Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins called it “a great accomplishment.”

Collins added “It seems like only yesterday that we sat down together to create the partnership for a state-of-the-art sawmill…We are proud of what the sawmill brings to the community.”

Resolute President and CEO Yves Laflamme said the employees can take pride in producing “a cost-effective, energy-efficient, high-quality building material from an abundant, renewable resource.”