Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud is calling the deal with Twin Rivers Paper Co. "a great day for hundreds of workers in the northwest region of New Brunswick." (CBC)

The provincial government has reached an agreement with the Twin Rivers Paper Co. which will result in the company completing its agreement to invest in the pension plan of hundreds of its workers and retirees.

Twin Rivers will make payments of between $12.5 million and $52.9 million over the next four to 15 years into a shared-risk pension plan. This will allow hourly workers to collect 64.6 per cent of their salary instead of the current 56 per cent upon retirement. Salaried workers will see 69 per cent of their salary collected at retirement, up from 65 per cent.

The provincial legislature will reconvene Tuesday to make changes to the Pension Benefits Act for this to take effect.

Under the agreement, Twin Rivers will receive 200,000 additional cubic metres of wood under the Strategy of Crown Lands Forest Management. In exchange, the company is committing to invest up to $70 million in upgrades to its operations.

Because of the additional wood, the company has added a third shift at its Plaster Rock mill, creating more than 40 new jobs and has invested $2.5 million in a new kiln for lumber drying.

Investments Twin Rivers will make at its Edmundston mill include $3 million for pulp mill process upgrades and $5 million on emission control improvements.

Under the agreement, the company predicts it will make annual capital investments in its operations of $6 million to $8 million.

New market opportunities

Upon completion of the investments and full ramp-up of operations at Plaster Rock, Twin Rivers estimates it will have additional capacity to add new market opportunities for an additional 70,000 cubic metres of wood from private woodlots annually.

“This is a great day for hundreds of workers in the northwest region of New Brunswick.... We are confident that these positive changes will assure (sic) it will be contributing to our economy for many years to come," said Natural Resources Minister Paul Robichaud in a statement.