Canadian Biomass Magazine

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Newfoundland Wood Yard

The January 14, 2010, announcement is another step in a series of projects that will mean greater self-sufficiency for the province’s Northern Peninsula region, hard hit since the closure in fall 2008 of two pulp and paper mills and the idling of a paper machine at the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill.


April 22, 2010
By Colleen Cross

The January 14, 2010, announcement is another step in a series of projects that will mean greater self-sufficiency for the province’s Northern Peninsula region, hard hit since the closure in fall 2008 of two pulp and paper mills and the idling of a paper machine at the Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill.

holsonwoodlot
A Liebherr 904A log loader sits in the foreground of the growing pile of energy wood being stockpiled at the Regional Wood Yard in Roddickton, Newfoundland.


As general manager Todd May explains, Holson, through owner Ted Lewis, developed a business plan to build a pellet mill and expand its existing sawmill. The Northern Peninsula Forest Resource Association approached the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency  (ACOA) for assistance to develop the Regional Wood Yard as a secure location to inventory spruce and fir energy wood – smaller in diameter than pulpwood – while the pellet mill is under construction.  The federal funding secured by the association will help to develop the wood yard and lease a Liebherr log loader for about 12 months.

“The association is building the wood yard so that Holson can create a stockpile in anticipation of the pellet mill, expected to be in operation by October 2010,” says May.  “Although Holson didn’t need to begin stockpiling until the summer of 2010, the wood yard has allowed Holson to help sustain the capacity in the forest industry.”

“I am ecstatic we have our forest industry back!” said Lewis in August 2009, upon the announcement of $9 million to back the sawmill and pellet plant projects.  The funds comprise $7 million in non-interest term-bearing loans and $2 million in grants from the Forest Industry Diversification Fund of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Department of Natural Resources.

The sawmill will produce 10 million board feet/year, and wood will be kiln-dried on site. Construction of a 50,000-tonne capacity pellet plant began last fall with the pouring of concrete floors.  The plant will be ready for equipment installation in the spring.  Holson has lined up Finar to construct the building, KMW to provide a bark burner, M-E-C to provide a dryer, and Andritz to supply pelletizers.  Van Wall, owner of Projitech in St-Georges, Quebec, has been contracted to serve as engineer and project manager.  A supplier for hammermills and hogs had not been chosen as of press time.  The wood pellets will be sold in bulk for industrial use and in bags for residential markets.

The inventory yard will maintain direct employment in the local industry for about 130 people.  The recent ACOA funding is specifically aimed at sustaining local jobs.  Holson currently employs 35 people plus contractors and trucking companies.  Sawmill modernization and the establishment of a pellet plant may mean as many as 20 new local jobs.


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