Ontario Grows New Market from Industrial Hemp



    International Group To Invest In Ontario Company

    TORONTO, Jan. 21 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    Ontario will be home to the first North American commercial
bio-processing plant for industrial hemp.
    Ontario's Stonehedge Bio-Resources Inc. (http://www.stonehedgebio.ca/) 
announced today it will receive a $2-million investment by a group of
investors from the United Kingdom. Starting in spring 2009, Stonehedge expects
to build a new bio-refining facility in eastern Ontario that will employ up to
27 people by 2011. The company expects to produce more than $17 million per
year in renewable hemp fibre, wood-like chips, and pellets, as well as matting
and seed products.
    Ontario, through the Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs
(OMAFRA) and the Eastern Lake Ontario Regional Innovation Network (ELORIN),
has been providing Stonehedge with advice, expertise and support in building
international partnerships. In 2007, Stonehedge participated on an Ontario-led
trade mission to France that led to the introduction to Lime Technology Ltd.,
one of the companies that will invest $1.5 million in Stonehedge's industrial
hemp bio-processing plant.

    QUOTES

    "Ontario is proud to support innovative companies that are turning good
ideas into good jobs. Today's investment is a clear sign that our
entrepreneurs and researchers are on the right track to developing and
marketing globally competitive green technologies that will create good jobs
for Ontario families," said Minister of Research and Innovation John
Wilkinson.
    "Eastern Ontario has carved out a new economic sector that will support
our communities in the 21st century. From research to high-technology
bio-processing to farming, we're very excited at the possibilities this
project has to offer," said Northumberland-Quinte West MPP Lou Rinaldi.
    "Thanks to support from the Ontario government and ELORIN, Stonehedge has
been able to attract international recognition and investment from leading UK
companies. Industrial hemp is a blockbuster crop with a bright future - and
Ontario provides Stonehedge with unique competitive advantages in both our
research and our crop production," said John Baker, President of Stonehedge.

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -   Industrial hemp is used to produce Hemcrete
        (http://www.limetechnology.co.uk/pages/hemcrete.php), an
        environmentally friendly limestone building material similar to
        concrete.
    -   Stonehedge Bio-Resources Inc. (http://www.stonehedgebio.ca/) expects
        to hire five employees in 2009 and 27 employees by 2011.
    -   The global renewable and bioproducts industry is expected to exceed
        $125 billion in revenues by the year 2010.

    LEARN MORE

    -   Read about Stonehedge Bio-Resources Inc
        (http://www.stonehedgebio.ca/).
    -   Find out about Hemcrete
        (http://www.limetechnology.co.uk/pages/hemcrete.php)
    -   Find out about Ontario green
        (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/default.asp) energy projects.

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                                                  ontario.ca/innovation-news
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    BACKGROUNDER
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

               BUILDING ONTARIO'S GREEN ECONOMY WHILE TACKLING
                               CLIMATE CHANGE
    

    Supporting innovation is part of the McGuinty government's five-point
plan (http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/budgetsplash/) for growing Ontario's economy.
Ontario's Innovation Agenda
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/oia/program.asp) is the
government's strategy for turning great ideas into good-paying jobs and better
lives for Ontario families.
    Backed by close to $3 billion in spending over eight years, the agenda
focuses on supporting innovation and growth in sectors where Ontario has the
research and business strengths to dominate high-growth global markets.
Tackling climate change through bio-based, environmental, alternative energy
and clean technologies is one of these sectors.
    A key challenge faced around the globe today is finding ways to replace
non-renewable carbon products, such as those derived from oil and gas, with
renewable carbon, such as those found in forestry and agriculture.
    Ontario is well positioned to develop innovative solutions in this area.
The province has a wealth of renewable carbon and the world is looking for
jurisdictions that can turn this into clean technologies like new fuels and
new materials that reduce our environmental footprint on the planet.

    JOBS OF THE FUTURE

    Clean technology covers more than just green energy and recycling. It
spans the economy.

    
    AGRICULTURE
    ------------
    
    In agriculture, clean technology encompasses bio-based materials,
farm-efficiency technologies, micro-irrigation systems and natural pesticides.

    
    ENERGY
    -------
    
    Energy applications include distributed and renewable energy generation,
conversion (including fuel cells, geothermal, wind and solar power) and
storage, key enabling technologies, and related information technology-based
services.

    
    MANUFACTURING
    --------------
    
    Examples from manufacturing include advanced packaging, high-value
materials recovery, natural chemistry, sensors, smart construction materials
and precision manufacturing instruments.

    
    TRANSPORTATION
    ---------------
    
    Transportation opportunities can be found in hybrid vehicles, lighter
materials, smart logistics software and telecommuting. Technologies around
water include recycling, ultra-filtration systems (UV and membrane-based
systems), sensors and automation systems.

    INVESTMENTS IN CLEAN TECHNOLOGY AND THE GREEN ECONOMY

    Innovation is key to tackling climate change and turning the rising
global demand for non-petroleum and renewable carbon-based fuels into jobs and
investment for Ontario.
    Today, the province is home to more than 45 per cent of Canada's
environment firms.
    Ontario is taking many bold steps to be at the forefront of the global
bioeconomy. The province's investments are focused on seizing global market
opportunities through government-academic-industry collaborations and
partnerships.
    Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy - Located in
Thunder Bay, the $25-million Centre for Research and Innovation in the
Bio-Eeconomy (CRIBE) (http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/CRIBE052108.asp)
will create new opportunities and high-paying jobs in the rapidly growing and
cutting-edge bio-economy. The centre will focus on research, development and
commercialization as they relate to the next generation of renewable forestry
bio-products.
    University of Western Ontario Bioproducts Initiative - Ontario is
investing $7.5 million in the University of Western Ontario's Bioproducts
Initiative, which consists of two projects that are taking different
approaches to turn farm byproducts and waste into next-generation biofuels.
The funding supports the creation of a new research centre to test biofuel
technologies, and will help complete a biogas facility that will turn manure
and wastewater into energy, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and odour.
    Innovation Demonstration Fund - Ontario's four-year, $30-million
Innovation Demonstration Fund
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/programs/idf/guidelines.asp) helps companies
demonstrate and commercialize new bio-based, environmental or alternative
energy technologies, helping them bring these technologies to market faster.
Two companies taking radically different approaches to generating renewable
power - Plasco Energy Group
(http://www.mri.gov.on.ca/english/news/Plasco042707.asp) (from waste) and
Verdant Power Canada (http://www.verdantpower.com/what-core) (using the
current of the St. Lawrence River) are examples of organizations receiving
funding.
    Next Generation of Jobs Fund - Ontario's Next Generation of Jobs Fund
(http://www.ontario-canada.com/ontcan/en/nextgen_main_en.jsp) is a five-year,
$1.15-billion strategy to help innovative companies grow and create
well-paying sustainable jobs for Ontario's highly skilled workers. One of the
leading companies in this program is 6N Silicon
(http://www.6nsilicon.com/s/Home.asp), which has developed a cost-effective
way to meet market demand for solar-grade silicon.

    
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                                                  ontario.ca/innovation-news
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For further information:

For further information: Sandra Watts, MRI Minister's Office, (416)
314-7067; Perry Blocher, MRI Communications Branch, (416) 326-7717

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