A grand opening was held Monday for a new sawmill in Mackenzie.
Duz Cho Forest Products will produce cants for export to China and the Middle East with a small percentage to the United States and will use small diameter logs - primarily beetle-attacked pine - not used or wanted by other manufacturers in the area.
The mill has also experimented with processing aspen logs.
In all 28 people work at the mill. Nine of them are from the McLeod Lake Indian Band and nine from other First Nations. And 10 of the employees are women.
"We are proud of our diverse workforce," Duz Cho CEO Al Humphreys said in a press release from the ministry of forests, lands and natural resource operations.
"The Duz Cho mill is operating above planned production levels in large part because of the dedicated and empowered workforce we are fortunate to employ.
"The fibre quality meets or exceeds our customers' expectations, and the mill's success is helping provide an economic boost to Mackenzie and local First Nations."
Most of the Duz Cho mill was built from used equipment sourced from across Canada. The mill line is outside, under the overhang of the building, to address dust control and combustible dust issues.
It can process about 240,000 cubic metres of timber annually. Sawmill residue is sold locally to the Mackenzie pulp mill.