Following a final approval announcement by the Alberta Government in December 1990 plans were finalized to build North America’s newest and largest pulp mill. Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. would be the first in a new generation of pulp mills constructed to meet higher environmental standards put in place in the late 1980s. The mill was designed to use elemental chlorine-free (ECF) technology to whiten its pulp, an industry-leading waste treatment facility to reduce the amount of organic material in its effluent and it would generate enough electrical energy through the burning of wood waste in its power boiler to be self-sufficient in terms of heat and power.
Construction began in April 1991, and after more than 3,200 skilled workers lent Alberta-Pacific their skills and labour, the mill began producing pulp in September 1993 under the ownership of Crestbrook Forest Industries, Mitsubishi Corporation and Kanzaki Paper (later acquired by Oji Paper Company Ltd.). Alberta-Pacific quickly established itself as one of the leading producers of high quality kraft pulp, while also demonstrating environmental excellence in all aspects of its operation.
After acquiring Crestbrook's shares in 1998, the private company was then solely owned by Mitsubishi Corporation (70%) and Oji Paper (30%).
Adopting a Continuous Improvement philosophy, team members then set to work finding greater efficiencies. This focus would help increase production from a daily capacity of 1,500 air-dried metric tonnes (ADMt) per day design capacity to 1,922 ADMt per day by 2004 and in 2005 AlPac would become certified to the Forest Stewardship Certification (FSC®) Northern Boreal Standard. In 2006 the company’s self-sufficient mill design and several carbon reduction initiatives helped the company to obtain carbon neutrality.
In 2011, the company along with funding from the Government of Canada’s Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Fund, installed a new transmission line, transformer site, steam condensing turbine and generator to enable greater export of renewable energy to the regional power grid. It also announced a methanol purification project to help utilize a by-product of the pulping process to produce bio methanol, helping to reduce costs and create a new green product for the marketplace.
In October 2015, Al-Pac was purchased in a private sale and is now owned by Hokuetsu Corporation.