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Western Forest Products cuts ribbon on new dry kiln on Vancouver Island

Ladysmith sawmill gets upgrade with increased drying capacity
Western Forest Products cuts the ribbon on new drying kiln at its sawmill in Ladysmith.

Western Forest Products (TSX:WEF) recently cut the ribbon on a new dry kiln at one of its Vancouver Island sawmills as part of a plan to increase valued-added manufacturing capacity.

Western owns six sawmills and two remanufacturing plants on Vancouver Island.

The company recently invested $12 million on a new dry kiln at its Saltair sawmill in Ladysmith to increase its lumber drying capacity.

Western also plans to spend $35 million adding new drying kilns at its Duke Point sawmill in Nanaimo and its Chemainus remanufacturing plant. Each of the new kilns will have an annual capacity of approximately 70 million board feet, and will allow the company to “transition to higher value products.”

“The additional capacity will support increased volumes of kiln dried products, including lumber used to produce glued laminated timber for mass timber applications,” the company said in a news release.

“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 company said it expects to finish building the next two dry kilns over the next two years.

“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,” said Western Forest Products CEO Steven Hofer.

“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.”

“We are pleased to see the investment Western is making to upgrade its facilities to support further value-added manufacturing on the B.C. coast,” said Brian Butler, president of the United Steel Workers local 1-1937. “Increasing the company’s competitiveness paves the way for employment and opportunities for our members.”