Empire Industries Ltd. and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation announce letter of intent to form a partnership in the Fort McMurray region

    FORT MCMURRAY, AB, July 21 /CNW/ - The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Holding Corporation ("ACFN") and Empire Industries Ltd. (TSX-V: EIL)
("Empire") jointly announced that they have signed a letter of intent to
become partners in the ownership of Sorge's Welding Ltd. ("Sorge's Welding").
The new partnership is being created as a result of ACFN purchasing the
controlling ownership of Sorge's Welding from Janet Sorge. Empire will retain
its 49% minority interest in Sorge's Welding, which it purchased December 31,
    Building on its extensive business interests in north eastern Alberta,
ACFN made a strategic decision to broaden its business activities to include
steel fabrication, piping, field construction and maintenance services for the
burgeoning oil sands market in north eastern Alberta and they have chosen to
do this in partnership with Empire Industries as co-owners of Sorge's Welding.
The new partnership is scheduled to close in August.
    "ACFN wants to help Sorge's Welding succeed in performing a reasonable
amount of the estimated four million man-hours of outsourced welding and
maintenance services in the region," stated Chief Allan Adam. "We also want
Sorge's Welding to aggressively pursue the steel fabrication and installation
services portion of the more than $100 billion of oil sands capital projects
as a local, aboriginal controlled contractor. We see this investment as one of
the best ways to have our First Nation Band's youth have a clear path towards
new challenging careers in the skilled trades, construction and maintenance
management and even engineering."
    Janet Sorge stated, "Richard and I have built an excellent Aboriginal
controlled company over the past 20 years but we both knew we had to ensure
that what we built could continue to grow and capitalize on the tremendous
construction and maintenance opportunities in the Fort McMurray region of
Alberta. Having my First Nation Band buy our controlling interest in Sorge's
Welding was the best way to accomplish this goal." Richard Sorge added: "I am
fully committed to staying on as CEO of Sorge's Welding to ensure a smooth
transition of ownership and help the company take its place as a leader
amongst Aboriginal controlled businesses in the Ft. McMurray region. This is
not my retirement announcement. Rather, it is a move that demonstrates our
personal commitment to increasing the benefits to the Aboriginal community
arising from the massive, oil sands development plans as well as expanding the
effectiveness of our company's strong apprenticeship programs we've put in
place over the years."
    Guy Nelson, CEO of Empire Industries Ltd., commented: "This innovative
partnership has been created specifically to allow the oil sands industry to
avail themselves of a globally competitive, Aboriginal controlled partnership
focused on steel fabrication, construction and maintenance services. With
Empire's numerous plants in Alberta, Manitoba and B.C., we are well positioned
to support the Sorge's Welding field construction and maintenance services
team, creating even more opportunities for us to employ both skilled and
apprentice trades people from the First Nations in the Ft. McMurray area and
across the country."

    About Sorge's Welding Ltd.

    Sorge's Welding Ltd. was founded in 1989 as an Aboriginal controlled,
certified steel fabricator and field installation contractor based in the Fort
McMurray region of North Eastern Alberta. Empire Industries Ltd. became a
minority partner of Sorge's Welding Ltd. at the end of 2006. The partnership
brings expanded capabilities and depth of product and capacity to Sorge's
Welding Ltd. Business operational principles for all work performed by Sorge's
Welding are; safety, reliability, quality and unparalleled service.

    About Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

    The ACFN reserve lands are located on the southwest shore of Lake
Athabasca. The First Nation offices are located in Ft. Chipewyan, Alberta
approximately 200 aerial miles from Ft. McMurray, Alberta. Ft. Chipewyan is
Alberta's oldest continuous European settlement dating back to 1788 when the
North West Company established an outpost there. The ACFN Holding Corporation
owns controlling interests in a number of businesses including; Denesoline
Environment, Tech Sonic Services, Chip Manufacturing, Dene West and Poplar
Point Camp Services, and AC&T Civil Contractors.

    About Empire Industries Ltd.

    Empire Industries Ltd. is a leading, Western Canadian steel fabricator
and engineered products manufacturer. Empire's mission is to increase
shareholder value by adding value to steel through a combination of organic
growth and strategic acquisitions. Since becoming a public entity, Empire has
expanded its fabrication space to more than 400,000 square feet and grown its
workforce to more than 800 skilled tradespersons and technical personnel. The
Company owns several steel fabrication shops and manufacturing facilities,
each with longstanding track records of success, and is uniquely positioned to
capitalize on the burgeoning infrastructure, commercial and industrial
construction marketplace of Western Canada. Empire's common shares are listed
on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol EIL.

    Forward-looking statements

    This press release contains forward-looking statements, within the
meaning of applicable securities legislation, concerning Empire's business and
affairs. In certain cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the
use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "budget",
"scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or variations
of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results
"may", "could", "would", "might" or "will be taken", "occur" or "be achieved".
These forward looking statements are based on current expectations, and are
naturally subject to uncertainty and changes in circumstances that may cause
actual results to differ materially. Readers are cautioned not to place undue
reliance on such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking information is
provided as of the date of this press release, and Empire assumes no
obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances,
except as may be required under applicable securities laws. In the current
press release, there is the additional risk that the letter of intent does not
consummate as a transaction.

    The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy
    or accuracy of this release.

For further information:

For further information: please visit Empire's web-site at:
www.empind.com or the Sorge's Welding website at www.sorgeswelding.com or
contact: Guy Nelson, Chairman & CEO, Empire Industries Ltd., Phone: (416)
366-7977, Email: gnelson@empind.com; Graeme Ramsay, CEO, ACFN Business Group,
Phone: (780) 598-4567, Email: graeme.ramsay@acfngofc.ca; Richard Sorge, CEO,
Sorge's Welding Ltd., Phone: (780) 743-9739, Email: rsorge@sorgeswelding.com

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