Western Forest Products Inc.

Western Forest Products Inc.

December 13, 2007 17:26 ET

Western Forest Products Comments on Strategic Land-Use Agreement Between B.C. and Haida Gwaii

DUNCAN, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 13, 2007) - Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX:WEF) ("Western") is advised that the government of British Columbia signed a Strategic Land Use Agreement ("SLUA") yesterday with the Council of the Haida Nation dealing with land use and resource management issues in the Haida Gwaii or Queen Charlotte Islands. Amongst other things, the agreement recommends adding approximately 254,000 hectares of land on the Islands (representing an additional 25.3% of the total land base) to existing protected areas for cultural, spiritual and recreational values. The SLUA also provides for detailed strategic and forest planning to determine the operational timber harvest levels on the remaining timber harvesting land base using ecosystem-based management objectives and it is expected this will be completed in 24 months.

The Company is not able to determine the nature or extent of the eventual harvest levels either within our tenure areas or on the Queen Charlotte Islands generally due to the requirement for the government to complete the detailed strategic and forestry planning, although the terms of the agreement provide for an initial total harvest level of at least 800,000 cubic meters through the implementation of the SLUA. The total harvest level has most recently been in the 1.2 million cubic metre range annually by all license holders. Western has accounted for approximately 45% of the recent annual harvest on the Queen Charlotte Islands. Western will be seeking appropriate compensation should there be any deletions from Western's tenures.

As previously disclosed, Western currently has an Allowable Annual Cut in the Queen Charlotte Islands of approximately 510,000 cubic metres, representing about 7% of the Company's harvest from Crown lands from all of our timber licenses. The 510,000 cubic meters had been temporarily reduced previously from 803,000 cubic metres by the provincial Chief Forester to account for areas which had been designated by Cabinet under Part 13 of the Forest Act as a result of earlier land use discussions.

Logs harvested from the Queen Charlotte Islands by the Company provide a portion of the log supply for several of the Company's mills on Vancouver Island. Consequently, to the extent they cannot be replaced through log purchases, any reductions in the log supply as a result of the SLUA may adversely affect lumber and wood chip manufacturing and sales.

Western Forest Products

Western is an integrated Canadian forest products company and the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer with an annual available harvest of approximately 7.5 million cubic metres of timber of which 7.3 million cubic metres is from Crown lands and 0.2 million cubic metres from private timberlands and lumber capacity in excess of 1.5 billion board feet from eight sawmills and four remanufacturing plants. Principal activities conducted by the Company and its subsidiaries include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value-added remanufacturing. Substantially all of Western's operations, employees and corporate facilities are located in the coastal region of British Columbia while its products are sold in over 20 countries worldwide.

Forward Looking Statements and Information

This press release contains forward-looking statements and forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities law. Those statements and information include statements or information regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of Western as it relates to the impact on the Company of the strategic land-use agreement between the government of British Columbia and the Haida Gwaii. Such statements or information may be indicated by words such as "approximately", "achieving", "estimated", "expect", "anticipate", "plan", "intend", "believe", "will", "should", "may" and similar words and phrases. Readers are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements or information are not guarantees and may involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, and that the actual results may differ from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements or information as a result of various factors including, changes in government regulation, and misjudgments in the course of preparing forward-looking statements or information. The information contained under the "Risk Factors" section of Western's Annual Information Form and under the "Risks and Uncertainties" section of Western's Management's Discussion and Analysis identifies important factors that could cause such differences. All written and oral forward-looking statements or information attributable to Western or persons acting on behalf of Western are expressly qualified in their entirety by the foregoing cautionary statements. Western does not expect to update forward-looking statements or information as conditions change.

Contact Information

  • Western Forest Products Inc.
    Reynold Hert
    President & CEO
    (250) 715-2207
    Western Forest Products Inc.
    Duncan Kerr
    (250) 715-2203