TRUCK driver launches a strap over load of lumber to secure it to be shipped from Skeena Sawmills. The mill’s owners are getting ready to announce major improvements to the mill within the next several weeks.

Terrace, B.C. sawmill to upgrade

Skeena Sawmills to add workers, boost productivity

  • Sep. 21, 2016 10:00 a.m.

SKEENA SAWMILLS is on the verge of announcing substantial improvements to its milling facility and associated works along Hwy16 west of Terrace.

Now the only substantial mill in the region, Skeena Sawmills is owned by Roc Holdings Ltd. based in the Lower Mainland.

The company is part of a substantial real estate, development and construction conglomerate located in China, a country that is one of the world’s largest lumber consumers and where demand is expected to increase.

Details of cost and the scope of the improvements have yet to be released but work to increase lumber milling capacity is expected to start this winter and within the mill’s existing buildings.

“Once the upgrade is complete, the plan is to go to two full shifts. Everything will have to double,” said plant manager Lionel Chabot last week.

That means adding to the workforce at the mill. Skeena Sawmills now employs approximately 80 people, processing up to 300,000 cubic metres of wood a year.

It is a high speed line that they are upgrading, which will increase the volume produced to one-and-a-half times the volume per two shifts, Chabot said.

“We should be able to meet the demand,” he said, adding the mill will be bigger and better. “It will up the mill to an economically viable manufacturing facility,” he said.

Asia is still the mill’s main marketplace, with 95 per cent of Skeena Sawmills’ products shipped there, said Chabot, adding the mill would never sell 100 per cent to Asia because purchasers there don’t want the other five per cent lower grade products. Those are sold locally or into eastern Canada.

The low grade products are remanufactured by the buyers into smaller pieces for use-specific products.

Skeena Sawmills dates back to the 1960s when it was owned and operated by Bill McRae, now a city freeman.

It was subsequently purchased by West Fraser and become an integral part of its northwestern B.C. forest operations, supplying chips to its Eurocan pulp mill in Kitimat.

A lengthy 2007 strike throughout the coastal forest industry idled the mill and it never fully re-opened when a new labour contract was signed. However it did continue to supply chips to the pulp mill in Kitimat.

That part of its business ended in late 2009 when West Fraser announced it was closing its Eurocan pulp mill and Skeena Sawmills was then placed in care and maintenance.

West Fraser then announced the sale of the mill, along with associated wood licences in 2011 to Roc Holdings.

At the time of the purchase, and leading to its re-opening in 2012, Roc officials noted the mill was the closest northern mill to a port facilities at Prince Rupert, saying this gave it a competitive edge by reducing transportation costs.

The company then made investments in machinery as well.

The mill has also been creative in finding customers – in 2014, for example, it began selling wood to Alberta companies rig mats, wooden sections laid down so that equipment can be driven over softer ground.

 

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

Terrace to Hazelton bus service launched

First trip of BC Transit’s latest inter-community route set for Nov. 20

Snowfall warning issued for Terrace

Environment Canada expects up to 30cm by this evening

UPDATE: One injured in collision near Onion Lake

The semi truck and van collided between Terrace and Kitimat at 1:45 p.m. Nov. 15.

Housing proposed for street homeless

City-owned land close to being developed into 52 units of transitional housing

Mo Sista wears it proud

Mustachioed Kara Weeber standing in solidarity with Movember Bros

100,000 bulbs shine bright for Lights of Hope

St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver launched its annual campaign to raise funds for equipment, research

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

‘I will now live in consistent fear’: Allan Schoenborn granted escorted leaves

The Merritt man was deemed not criminally responsible in the killing of his three children in 2008

Hammy the deer dodges conservation officers in Prince Rupert

The famous Prince Rupert hammock deer maintains his purple threads

‘No shirt, no service, no Canada’

Shirtless Tacoma man arrested after Canadian border officials say they found meth in rental vehicle

Nasty note on B.C. windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

Federal funding to combat guns, gangs and opioid crisis

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said illicit drugs are often main cause of guns, gangs violence

Most Read