CACOUNA, Quebec -- Groupe Lebel plans to build a wood pellet plant on the Cacouna site it has occupied since 2002.
The sustainability of its forest and wood processing operations are crucial to the mission of this family business, founded over 65 years ago in the Lower St. Lawrence region of Quebec, said Louis-Frédéric Lebel, Groupe Lebel president and CEO.
“The plant will help us optimize our growth plan,” he said, “as it will give us an outlet for unsold by-products and processed wood affected by the spruce budworm. Further, Cacouna was a highly strategic choice of location for the future plant since it’s close to the Port of Gros-Cacouna and our primary processing activities.”
The facility received $15 million in backing from key partners for this $40 million project. The Quebec Ministry of Economy and Innovation granted the company a $12 million loan. The Quebec Department of Energy and Natural Resources contributed $1.75 million, which includes monies from Environment and Climate Change Canada program. Finally, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks is contributing $1 million via its Wood Innovation Program.
Pierre-Olivier Morency, director of Lebel Énergie, added that “the long-term market outlook in Europe is very good, especially for coal substitution. This is an environmentally sound project that both strengthens our sawmill operations and fights climate change.”
The first phase of the plant’s operations will begin in 2023 with an annual capacity of nearly 100,000 metric tons of wood pellets. Groupe Lebel aims to ship the majority of its production to growing international markets.
Frédéric Lebel added, “We are very pleased to have entrusted the process engineering and project execution to Prodesa. This international player in the construction of wood pellet production plants builds turnkey facilities in Europe, Asia and North America. Prodesa provides us with extensive expertise in process and performance guarantees.”
With this investment, Groupe Lebel expects to create two dozen jobs in Cacouna and to help maintain forestry jobs in the region. Groupe Lebel also wants workers to know that the company is ready to welcome and train them.
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