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

 

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

Terrace RCMP fill four police cars for 9th annual Cram a Cruiser event

Almost $2,000 was collected for local food banks, charity

Snow Valley Nordic Ski Club opens new fat bike and snowshoe trail

Created to improve safety for skiers, welcome more members

Council briefs: residents push city to keep bowling lanes open

Summary of council discussions from Dec. 9

Skeena Voices | No ocean to divide

Lillian Cui Garcia released a memoir reflecting on her life between the Philippines and Terrace

Terrace’s annual homeless count sees modest decrease

Though survey only captures snapshot in time

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Sharks beat Canucks 4-2 to snap 6-game skid

Vancouver visits Vegas on Sunday

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read