Situated on the west side of Skeena Sawmills, the big blue warehouse on the left is the location of the planned Terrace pellet plant.

Skeena Sawmills to build pellet plant this summer

Employing 10-15 people, the Terrace plant will be run as a separate company called Skeena Biofuels

A Terrace-based pellet plant may soon become a reality as Skeena Sawmills moves forward on its plans to begin construction this summer.

The mill is reserving its official announcement on the estimated $20-million pellet plant until construction starts, but operations vice-president Roger Keery has confirmed the project is going ahead.

“All the major equipment is ordered,” Keery said, estimating that the company has already spent roughly $2 million on permits and equipment deposits.

The pellet plant will be built inside the large blue warehouse on the west side of Skeena Sawmills.

Construction is expected to start this summer, with the equipment arriving in June or July. Keery hopes to have it up and running by the end of this fall.

Terrace has had a long history of false starts around pellet plants in the past 10 years, with about six attempts in partnership with the Terrace mill.

READ MORE: Wood pellet plant planned for Terrace, 2013

“No one has ever been in doubt that there needed to be one,” said Keery.

“It’s just, how do you get to it?”

The pellet business is tough and there’s not a lot of money in it, he said, adding that it can draw a reasonable return if it’s managed well.

But it’s not the economics that is driving the Skeena Sawmills project forward.

“We’re building the pellet plant because it’s critical to our business,” Keery said. “We currently cannot operate our mill to its capacity because we haven’t got anywhere to dispose of the (waste) material we produce.”

Keery says about 30 per cent of harvested wood is unusable for lumber products, and until now Skeena Sawmills has been loading it into the Kitsumkalum landfill.

“But it’s now full,” said Keery of the landfill, “so we can’t do that anymore.”

The sawmill is now stockpiling its waste wood in anticipation of what’s hoped to be the pellet plant’s fall startup.

“There’s still some uncertainty (about the timeline),” said Keery.

Roc Holdings Ltd, the Vancouver-based investment company that owns Skeena Sawmills, is starting up a separate company called Skeena Biofuels to build and operate the pellet plant, but Keery says they are considering potential partnerships.

The plant will produce an estimated 75,000 tonnes of pellets per year, and although buyers have not yet been identified Keery said there’s been a lot of interest from markets in China, Japan and Korea.

READ MORE: Northwest BC pellet plant to provide energy to Asia

So far three people, Gary Johnston, Nathan Bond, and Randy Coombes are employed to get the Skeena Biofuels plant up and running.

Once the plant is operational it will provide 12 to 15 jobs, probably two in management positions and 10-13 for operations and maintenance.

“We’ve put a lot of effort into designing our plant to be a state of the art pellet plant in terms of its efficiency, its environmental impact, and its impact on the neighbourhood in terms of noise,” said Keery.

The belt dryer, as an example, will use natural gas instead of wood fuel to dry the pellets at a lower temperature, minimizing wood exhaust.

The complete line of equipment will come from Prodesa, a Spain-based pellet plant and biomass equipment manufacturing company.


 


jackie@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

This warehouse, which is just east of Skeena Sawmills, is planned to house the Terrace pellet plant by the end of this year. (Skeena Sawmills photo)

Just Posted

RDKS developing strategy to bring higher internet speeds to remote areas

Results of public survey will help ISPs build business case for funding

UPDATE: Man drowns crossing Skeena River

59-year old Prince Rupert victim pronounced dead at Mills Memorial

Donations flow into Mills Memorial Hospital

Community responds to request for equipment, supplies

School district digs in on instruction resumption

Senior official calls the process a “marathon”

Terrace dental clinic say no staff experiencing COVID-19 symptoms 22 days after dental conference

Five members of the office attended the Pacific Dental Conference from March 5-7

B.C. records first at-home death from COVID-19, but 70+ hospital patients have recovered

Total of 970 novel coronavirus cases in B.C., with the majority in the Lower Mainland area

BC Ferries able to restrict travel for sick passengers

Ferries working on schedule shifts to keep workers safe

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Pay parking suspended at B.C. hospitals due to COVID-19

Temporary free parking reduces need for keypads, contact

Helping those at risk, one piece of paper at a time through ‘isolation communication’

Simple paper tool during pandemic making its way across Canada thanks to social media.

‘Back to school, in a virtual way’ for B.C. students in COVID-19 pandemic

Province adds online resources to help parents at home

Canadian COVID-19 round-up: Air Canada cuts 15,000 jobs, 90% of flights

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

Canadian ferry operators call for inclusion in COVID-19 travel restrictions

Domestic travel restrictions should include ferries, operators say

Most Read