Western Forest Products completes kiln upgrade at Saltair sawmill
Saltair Sawmill Gets $16 Million Investment

LADYSMITH, B.C. — Western Forest Products employees celebrate as the completion of the first continuous dry kiln on the coast of B.C. at the Company’s Saltair sawmill is finished. The company plans to continue accelerating its transition to higher value products with approximately $35 million of investments for two additional continuous dry kilns.

First Continuous Dry Kiln on B.C. Coast
The newly installed $12 million continuous dry kiln at the Saltair Sawmill increases the mill’s capacity for continuous drying of lumber, and provides environmental benefits by reducing energy consumption. The new kiln adds to the three existing kilns on site for drying lumber. The Saltair sawmill is the largest single-line sawmill on the coast of B.C. following previous multi-phase strategic capital investments of over $42 million to modernize the sawmill since 2013.

“This mill upgrade is great news for our community and a testament to our workforce in Ladysmith," said Aaron Stone, Mayor of the Town of Ladysmith. "The forest sector is the backbone of the B.C. economy and increasing its competitiveness through investments, such as these by Western Forest Products, support the communities and individuals who rely on these industries.”

Additional Investment in B.C. Coastal Operations
Following the successful completion of its first continuous dry kiln, Western is pushing ahead with two additional continuous dry kiln projects. One of the kilns will be constructed at the Company’s Duke Point sawmill in Nanaimo, B.C. and the other one at its Value-Added Division in Chemainus, B.C. Each of the new kilns will have an annual capacity of approximately 70 million board feet. The additional capacity will support increased volumes of kiln dried products, including lumber used to produce glued laminated timber for mass timber applications.

“Our investments to modernize our mills on the B.C. coast, underscore the strategic shift we are making to increase our production of value-added products with world-class facilities on Vancouver Island," Steven Hofer, President and CEO, Western Forest Products, said in a press release. "The new kilns will deliver efficiency and productivity gains that further position our mills and our employees to meet the needs of our customers for high-value, specialty products over the long term.”

Western has made significant investments in its B.C. Coastal manufacturing operations to modernize its primary manufacturing facilities, increase kiln drying and planing capacity and expand its engineered wood products and remanufacturing capacity. The approximately $35 million investment in two new continuous dry kilns is on top of the $29 million in investments announced in 2022. The previously announced projects are in various stages of advancement, with the Company most recently having completed the installation of a machine stress rated lumber grader at its Duke Point sawmill to support increased production of higher value lumber destined for mass timber applications. All remaining projects are expected to be completed by mid-2024. The two new continuous dry kilns are slated to be completed over 2024 and 2025.



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Dakota Smith | Editorial Intern

Dakota Smith is an undergraduate student at New Jersey City University studying English and Creative Writing. He is a writer at heart, and a cook by trade. His career goal is to become an author. At Woodworking Network, Dakota is an editorial intern, ready to dive into the world of woods and words.