Forestry Sector Report

Forestry constitutes a secondary tier of economic activity in Kirkland Lake.  The municipality is home to two operators:

  • Rosko Forestry Operations was incorporated in 1978 as a contract harvesting and transport company. In 2008, the company, with the assistance of the municipality, established a custom cut sawmill capable of producing sawn rough and planed lumber products up to 30 feet long. The primary products are sold into domestic wholesale markets while secondary products (wood chips, hog fuel, sawdust and shavings) are sold into secondary markets. The facility has an annual production of 9.8-million board feet. Supply for the mill is drawn primarily from the Timiskaming Forest and the Abitibi River Forest. The combined harvesting and sawmill operations employ approximately 50 people and constitute a true ‘stump to market’ enterprise.

  • Kirkland Lake Forestry Products was established in 2015 in nearby Kenogami. The company produces a manufactured wood product that is primarily sold into international markets. Supply is primarily drawn from other mills in the form of discarded or secondary wood stock. The company employs approximately 10 people.

Kirkland Lake is situated in the Timiskaming Forest. The Forest comprises approximately 10,000 square kilometres of managed forested land extending westward from the Ontario/Quebec border for 166 kilometres, and northward from Lake Timiskaming to Lake Abitibi.  Rosko Forestry Operations is also active in the Abitibi River Forest. This Forest  comprises approximately 35,000 square kilometres of managed forested land extending westward from the Ontario/Quebec border for 190 kilometres, and from a border that lies south of Timmins to the northern-most extend of Ontario’s managed forest. Kirkland Lake is a major landowner within this Forest, and manages its forest resources through a Land Management Agreement.

The forestry industry faces significant challenges, including an ongoing labour shortage, financial stability due to international trade disputes, and climate change. However, the long term prospects for the industry are positive. Overall, Ontario only harvests 0.2 per cent of its workable forests annually – that is 0.2 per cent of 5,000,000,000,000 cubic metres of growing stock trees within managed Crown forests.  In comparison, Finland harvests approximately 80% of its workable forests. With proper reforestation and land management practices, the industry may enjoy excellent long term sustainable growth. As well, the need to be more innovative in harvesting, production and use of wood and wood related products is slowly opening additional markets. In 2020, the Provincial government released its new forest sector strategy. This is the Province’s roadmap to grow the industry in a way that will create jobs and encourage sustainable economic growth, while supporting the Indigenous, northern and rural communities that depend on the sector.

 

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