VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - The Altair Sawmill will receive $16 million in capital investment, expanding lumber production 15 percent, as Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX:WEF) kicks off its capital expenditure plans. The mill employs 140.
The Saltair Sawmill, built in 1972, converts coastal mid-size logs into high value specialized lumber products in hemlock, Douglas fir and western red cedar. The capital project will make Saltair the largest single line sawmill on the coast of British Columbia, says Western Forest Products, with upgrades to the edgers, stacker and sorters.
Upgrades will increase lower the per unit cost of production, which will make the sawmill competitive with global producers, says the forest products firm.
"Increased efficiencies with the upgrade will reduce mill bottlenecks, not only a benefit to productivity, but also to the safety of the work environment," the company said in its announcement.
Upgraded edgers will facilitate onsite production of prime sizes for its growing Asian markets.
"With our improved financial results and a secure timber supply - both key to having the confidence to invest," said Dominic Gammiero, CEO, "our capital planning focus now shifts to other high return projects that make up the remainder of our capital investment strategy."
Western Forest Products says it is the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer with an annual available harvest of approximately 7.4 million cubic meters of timber and lumber capacity of more than 1.5 billion board feet from eight sawmills and four remanufacturing plants. Western sawmills logs into lumber and wood chips and does value-added remanufacturing.
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