TIMMINS -- Several mayors in northeastern Ontario have received word that the forestry operations in their towns will be soon owned by a new company.

Vancouver-based GreenFirst Forest Products recently announced it will acquire lumber mills in Cochrane, Hearst, Chapleau and Kapuskasing, as well as that town's paper mill. It's also buying two mills in northwestern Quebec.

“The fact that the people who purchased (the mills) have a great deal of knowledge of the lumber and paper industry is huge for us and the fact that they’re Canadian is another so ... we see it as a win-win," said Dave Plourde, mayor of Kapuskasing.

The mayor of Cochrane said it's a company that focuses on sustainable forestry.

A positive thing

“I think that’s just a positive thing for northeastern Ontario," said Denis Clement. "The more they look after the environment, and they have sustainable forestry practices, that’s just a positive thing for everyone."

GreenFirst officials said they intend to increase lumber capacity at its new mills, which collectively produce about 600 million board feet per year.

“Ultimately we’d like to get up to 840 million board feet potentially or higher," said Rick Doman, incoming chief executive officer and director for GreenFirst.

"And that’s all through capital projects. So we’re wanting to be sure that these mills can function better when markets are poorer."

Doman said he expects the acquisition to be finalized by late summer or early fall.