By: The Working Forest Staff
A new era is about to launch at Tolko’s High Level Lumber division as Tolko and Pinnacle Renewable Energy once again partner to deliver a state-of-the-art pellet plant that will reduce our carbon footprint and bring economic, employment, and other spinoff benefits to the community.
Construction on the project, which will be known as Northern Pellet Limited Partnership, will begin this month (July) and will be completed in the second half of 2020.
Tolko president and CEO Brad Thorlakson says the partnership is another example of how the company is diversifying its business for the future, and he’s proud of the many benefits it will bring to High Level.
“When commissioned, Northern Pellet Limited Partnership will reduce our carbon footprint,” says Thorlakson. “It will also secure and increase full-time permanent employment opportunities in the area, and allow us to use our bark, shavings, and sawdust to produce pellets for growing markets.”
Robert McCurdy, CEO of Pinnacle Renewable Energy, echoed these thoughts saying his company is excited by the opportunity the plant will bring for everyone and is looking forward to expanding its business relationship with Tolko and growing its production platform in Alberta. “We have established a strong working relationship with Tolko through the construction and operation of our jointly-owned Lavington, B.C. production facility, which was completed safely, on-time, and on budget. Our partnership with Tolko offers Pinnacle the ability to diversify the business further and position the company well to implement our growth strategies.”
This project, with a total investment of $53 million for the pellet plant, plus an additional $33 million for the thermal energy plant, is an exciting example of the many resource-based opportunities that exist in Alberta, which has a well-managed timber supply and policies that support the long-term success and development of the forest industry.
Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, says, “With the job creation tax cut and other bold government initiatives, we want job creators to know that Alberta is Open for Business. On behalf of the Alberta Government, I would like to thank Tolko and Pinnacle for their investment and the dozens of new jobs that they will create for families in Alberta.”
When complete, the plant will bring approximately 25 direct full-time jobs to the community and will use state-of-the-art technology to produce pellets for the North American market. The facility will also use pollution control equipment that meets the requirements of Alberta Environment and Parks.
In a clear demonstration of the importance of safety to both Tolko and Pinnacle Renewable Energy, the plant will have numerous dust management and explosion mitigation strategies in place including the use of blast gates, temperature monitoring, moisture sensing, spark detection, auto sprinkling, deluge, and abort protection. Overall, this project incorporates the best safety practices and technology from the past and present.