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Fort St. James mill to turn forest waste into engineered wood products

A pilot-scale mill is based at the former Tl'Oh Forest Products mill in Fort St. James.
A Fort St. James company is looking to turn waste from logging and forestry into engineered wood products. Alaska Highway News file photo

A Fort St. James company is looking to turn low-quality, damaged and underutilized wood into engineered wood products, according to information released by the B.C. Ministry of Forests.

Deadwood Innovations, in a joint venture with the Nak'azdli Whut'en First Nation, has a pilot-scale mill based in the former Tl'Oh Forest Products mill in Fort St. James. On Monday, the province announced it is working with the group to fund the development of a commercial-scale plant, through the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program.

"Deadwood Innovations and our partners have the expertise and technology needed to modernize B.C.'s forestry industry and create new opportunities in communities like Fort St. James,” Deadwood Innovations president Owen Miller said in a statement issued on Monday. “Programs like the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program and its new accelerator stream help fill a gap in start-up funding that is needed for ventures like ours to bring these new products to market."

The provincial government has provided $200,000 over the past two years to help develop the technology and build the pilot plant.  

Design of the commercial-scale plant is expected to start in September. The technology focuses on using materials left over from logging and forestry, such as bark, shrubs, branches and berries, to make everyday products,

“Its technology is creating new market opportunities by producing engineered wood products that can be customized to meet specifications for industrial wood products and solid biomass fuels,” a statement issued by the Ministry of Forests said. “This helps shift the forest sector to a high-value, waste-free circular economy that reduces the use of petrochemical-based products and helps fight climate change.”

By using material that normally is burned in slashpiles, it will reduce waste and carbon emissions from the forest sector.

"The joint venture with Deadwood Innovations is one example of our Nation's increasing participation in forestry on our traditional territories,” Nak’azdli Whu’en Chief Aileen Prince said in a statement issued on Monday. “The commercialization of this technology will create more economic opportunities in our community and find new uses for waste, protecting our forests and wildlife for future generations."

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