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NOVA Chemicals will invest $300 million in its Sarnia-Lambton facilities in western Ontario. (Nova Chemicals/Facebook)

NOVA Chemicals will invest $300 million in its existing Sarnia-Lambton facilities in western Ontario.

The upgrades and increase in capacity will take place over the next four years.

The investment is the next phase of NOVA Chemicals' long-term growth strategy in the region. It will help the company expand ethylene production capacity at its Corunna site and upgrade its Moore polyethylene production facility.

Polyethylene is the type of plastic used plastic bags, plastic pipe, consumer electronics and housewares, to name a few.

Eric Hoskins, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, praised Nova Chemicals’ announcement Wednesday.

“This is a vote of confidence for Ontario and for the manufacturing sector that is so important to the region and our economy,” he said in a statement. “The investment will sustain approximately 1,000 direct full-time and contractor jobs in addition to hundreds of construction and trade jobs in the region and will build on previous investments the company has made."

More investment could be on the way.

“In parallel with the planned implementation of these projects, which could represent investment exceeding $300 million, we will continue to investigate options for a second [Advanced SCLAIRTECH Technology] facility,” NOVA Chemicals CEO Randy Woelfel said in a media release.

$1.5-billion plant still up for grabs

Meanwhile, Nova Chemicals is still trying to decide whether to build that $1.5-billion AST facility at its existing Sarnia plant or expand in the United States.

While the $300 million announced Wednesday will sustain 1,000 and create construction jobs, Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley previously told CBC News said a new AST plant would create at least 90 full-time jobs upon its completion. During construction, the project would create 1,500 jobs.

He also said it would add $450,000 to the tax base.

Nova Chemicals spokesperson Tracy Tierny told CBC News in June the company is also considering the U.S.

"We are balancing many factors as we drive towards the optimal conclusion, including capital costs, energy costs, timing to market, resource availability, incentives and execution risks," Tierny wrote in an email to CBC. "We expect to finalize our decision later this year."