Canfor Corporation has started construction of a new planer and the installation of a biomass energy plant, as part of a plan to restart an existing sawmill in the southern Interior of B.C.
“Construction has already begun and, at this time, the contractor is undertaking site preparation work,” said Christine Kennedy, director of public affairs and corporate communications.
“They will install a new planer and a thermal oil system that will replace the propane fired system. It’s a separate system that burns hogg fuel to heat oil, which goes to the dry kiln.”
Canfor is investing $38 million investment to restart operations at the Radium Sawmill, located in Radium Hot Springs, B.C.
The biomass energy system will use wood waste or hogg fuel from processing to heat oil to dry lumber which has just been cut.
Hogg fuel is a mixture of bark and sawdust.
“The new drying system replaces the cost of propane with dry wood, which creates a significant cost improvement over propane,” said Kennedy.
The capital project at the Radium mill began in May and start up of the facility is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year.
The main contractor on the project is the BID Group of Companies, which has several divisions including Nechako Mechanical for fabrication work and Deltech to install the green energy system.
The hogg-fired energy system will operate drying kilns, as well as a system to process sawmill waste.This part of the operation is scheduled for start-up this summer.
The major rebuild of the planer mill involves a new lumber infeed and strip system, planer machine, tramline and stackers.
The production upgrade on the sawmill involves handling changes and machinery tuning.
It will be completed in winter 2012.
An additional $1.5 million is to be invested in nearby Canal Flats sawmill to improve its ability to dry lumber.
“These investments are critical to support the restart of our Radium division, which was indefinitely closed in May 2009,” said Don Kayne, Canfor president and CEO.
“The fibre in the Kootenay region is amongst the best in the world and these investments will secure our ability to make top-quality products here to supply global markets.”
Canfor’s Radium mill was shut down in 2009 along with similar operations in Kamloops and Prince George.
Before it closed, the mill directly employed 170 workers and another 170 indirectly.