Millar Western is a family-owned, western Canadian group of companies that traces its roots to 1906, when founder J.W. Millar opened a blacksmith shop in North Battleford. Millar's operations grew over the following decades to include sawmilling, construction, and chemicals processing in Alberta and Saskatchewan. In the 1980s, Millar Western expanded into the pulp sector, launching its first bleached chemi-thermo-mechanical pulp (BCTMP) mill in Whitecourt, Alberta. In 1992, Millar Western opened a second BCTMP mill in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan. As the world's first successful zero-liquid-effluent-discharge market pulp mill, the facility earned international renown: rather than discharging treated mill waste water, or effluent, to the environment, it cleans and reuses this effluent, eliminating pollution concerns and significantly reducing fresh water intake requirements. Operating as Millar Western Pulp (Meadow Lake) Ltd., the mill is jointly owned by Millar Western and the government of Saskatchewan, and had 175 full-time employees in 2004. The Millar Western group sells products to markets around the world. Its chlorine-free pulp is sold to international papermakers for use in printing, writing and specialty papers, paperboard, tissues and towelling. Its lumber is sold in North America and Asia for use in residential and commercial construction.