Canfor Corporation announced this week further capital investments in its Elko sawmill, to the tune of $10 million.
The announcement, released by the forest products company on Tuesday, comes just over a year after a pledge of a $40 million investment in the sawmill — about 65 kilometres east of Cranbrook — which Canfor acquired from Tembec in early 2012.
The Canfor release said the $10 million is to improve efficiency in the Elko sawmill through the installation of a biomass-fired energy system.
“This capital project will improve cost and environmental efficiency at our Elko mill by utilizing sawmill residuals as an energy source in place of natural gas,” said Canfor Corporation President and CEO Don Kayne. “Our fibre position in the Kootenays is strong, and this investment reflects our continued commitment to operating world-class facilities and making the most of our high-quality fibre in this region.”
Work undertaken on the mill in 2013 included upgrades to the debarker, main planer mill, maintenance shop and interior offices.
Canfor operates three sawmills in the Kootenays and its Elko sawmill is a significant contributor to the regional economy.
“This is a substantial investment by Canfor that will bolster one of our region’s largest employment bases,” said Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetski. “A strong forest sector contributes significantly to the wealth of our region, and we appreciate Canfor’s confidence in our communities and our economy.”
Canfor is based in Vancouver, with operations in B.C., Alberta, Quebec, North and South Carolina and Alabama. Since 2010, the company has spent more than $850 million modernizing its solid wood and pulp manufacturing facilities.