Canfor Corp. has reopened its sawmill in Radium Hot Springs, B.C., spending $38.5 million to upgrade the operating and build a new planer mill.
The company said once the mill is operating at full capacity next year it will produce 240 million board feet annually and employ 144 people.
The mill was closed three and a half years ago, in May, 2009.
In November of 2011, Tembec announced that it was selling its Canal Flats and Elko sawmills, and the associated 1.1 million cubic metres of lumber and cutting rights, to Canfor for $60 million. About 455 employees were included in the transaction, with 90 of those located in the head office in Cranbrook. Tembec still owns the Skookumchuck pulp mill.
After the purchasing the Tembec assets, Canfor said it was investing $38.5 million on the Radium facility, creating a new planer facility, the installation of a biomass energy system, and modifications to the existing sawmill.
Another $1.5 million was to be spent on the Canal Flats mill to improve drying capacity.
“These investments are critical to support the restart of our Radium division,” said Canfor President and CEO Don Kayne at the time. “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.”
The reopening comes as the U.S. housing sector, a key market for Canadian lumber, appears to be starting to recover.
A recent report suggested that U.S. housing starts should reach 900,000 next year and just over one million in 2014.
With files from Canadian Press