January 9, 2006

Mistik is first forest firm to be audited under new Sask rules

Mistik Management, a forestry company jointly owned by NorSask Forest Products and Millar Western Pulp (Meadow Lake), recently reported the results of the first independent sustainable forest management audit conducted under Saskatchewan's updated legislation. Mistik, a forest management agreement (FMA) holder based in Meadow Lake, was the first company to have its performance assessed in a comprehensive audit conducted in 2004.

The auditors, KPMG Performance Registrar, found Mistik to be a progressive forest company in many respects. They reported that Mistik was doing a commendable job in several areas, including implementing innovative and effective forest renewal practices, maintaining ecological values in undertaking its harvest activities, protecting scenic values, consulting with communities and maintaining a high level and equitable distribution of employment and economic benefits to local communities.

They also found areas where both the company and the government needed to improve, notably the development, approval and implementation of the 20-Year Forest Management Plan, and the implementation of harvest operations and road building and reclamation activities in the northern part of the licence area. Action plans have been developed and implemented in response to the issues identified.

Saskatchewan Environment Minister David Forbes accepted all of the audit's findings and recommendations. "While there were many positive aspects identified in KPMG's very thorough report," he said, "there were also areas where we need to do better. We acknowledge this and, as a reflection of our shared commitment to improve our practices, are working with Mistik to make sure that all concerns are addressed."

Mistik is responsible for sustainable forest management and harvesting activities on approximately 1.8 million hectares of boreal forest in northwest Saskatchewan.

More information is available on-line at www.se.gov.sk.ca/forests, under "Forest Management," or from Al Willcocks of Saskatchewan Environment's Prince Albert office, 306/953-2486.

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