Feb. 22, 2017 - A fire at NorSask Forest Products has meant half of the company's workers have been laid off. CBC News reports. | READ MORE.
Feb. 22, 2017 - Patrick Lumber Company has acquired a portion of Mary’s River Lumber Company in Philomath, Ore. The eight-acre purchase encompasses five dry kilns andthe reman plant. 

McCool Millworks Inc., based in Sweet Home, Ore., will head operations. The Philomath operation will begin by processing primarily high grade Douglasfir and Hemlock lumber creating an opportunity for a dozen employees with plans for expansion. 

This acquisition is expected to add approximately twenty percent to Patrick Lumber’s processing capacity.
Feb. 15, 2017 - Morbark, a manufacturer of equipment used in forestry, recycling, tree care, landscaping, sawmill and biomass markets, has strengthened its senior management team with the appointment of Walt Niziolek as the new vice-president of operations and supply chain.

Niziolek joins Morbark at a time of continued business growth to take charge of supply chain and site operational requirements. This includes managing local, U.S. and overseas vendors and suppliers, all warehouse and distribution activities, quality initiatives and liaising with business unit engineering support.

Niziolek’s extensive expertise includes holding many previous senior leadership roles in manufacturing with companies such as CPG Building Products and Pride Mobility Products, where he specialized in deploying standardized work and other lean initiatives to improve safety, quality, delivery, supply chain management and cost.

“I’m excited to bring Walt to the Morbark team,” said Dave Herr, Morbark CEO. “Walt has a proven track record of driving change through lean manufacturing and continuous improvement techniques. This, along with his experience in complex manufacturing environments producing customized, engineered products, makes him a great fit for Morbark.”

Prior to his 20-plus years in manufacturing operations, Niziolek served as a captain in the U.S. Army, where he held multiple leadership and staff positions, both in peacetime and periods of conflict.

“Working with Morbark is an exciting opportunity to take a solid company to new heights,” said Niziolek. “I look forward to developing many productive working relationships with both internal personnel and external suppliers and stakeholders.”

Niziolek earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Southern Illinois University, as well as an MBA from the University of Michigan.

Morbark, LLC, based in Winn, Mich., is celebrating 60 years of innovating and manufacturing durable, high-performance equipment for forestry, recycling, tree care, sawmill and biomass markets. Morbark equipment helps customers harvest, process and convert wood and other organic waste materials into valuable, useful and profitable products. The Company produces a full line of whole tree and waste wood chippers, flails, brush chippers, horizontal and tub grinders, sawmill equipment, material handling systems and more. “Like” on Facebook, follow on Twitter or subscribe to our YouTube channel. For more information, please visit
Feb. 13, 2017 - Lumber company Hefler Forest Products is being sold to merchant bank Hawthorne Capital and wind farm company Katalyst Wind Inc. for an undisclosed amount.

The N.S.-based company had been under creditor protection since July 2016.

Among the assets, Hefler's biomass plant is what remains running, but Hawthorne Capital president Trevor Hannigar told the Chronicle Herald there are plans to revive the sawmill.

“Although the energy side is important and we are excited to be contributing to renewable energy in the region, our team is considering all options to get the sawmill running again, including the possibility of having a third party operate it,” Hannigar told The Chronicle Herald.

The business deal is set to close on Feb. 24.

Read the full story.

RELATED: Hefler asks creditors for more time
Feb. 13, 2017 - Maibec has optimized its Saint-Pamphile, Que., mill by using data available at all stages of the sawmilling process to make real-time decisions. Welcome the 4.0 sawmill.
Feb. 6, 2017 - OptiSaw West is calling for presentation proposals.

Are you a manufacturer or researcher in the sawmill industry offering an innovative optimization or automation option that can help sawmill operations succeed? Send us your presentation proposal now!

OptiSaw is a one-day workshop focused on the future of optimization and automation in sawmilling, including challenges and opportunities on the cutting edge of this side of the industry. Taking place in Richmond, B.C., on April 25, OptiSaw offers a time-effective and affordable learning and networking opportunity for those driving the future of sawmilling operations. 

We welcome sawmill management and owners, process engineers, continual improvement managers, optimization staff, researchers and design consultants. Registration for this exclusive event is limited to a select 50 seats.

Previous presentations have covered data-driving sawmilling, fibre supply, planer grading optimization, primary breakdown efficiencies, scanner scaling, avoiding equipment obsolescence, and more.

Send your presentation proposal to Maria Church ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) by Feb. 22.

For more information or to register, visit

Read about last year’s OptiSaw East.
Jan. 31, 2017 - Forestry and sawmilling company Conifex Timber Inc., announced Tuesday it is modernizing and will re-start a state-of-the art sawmill complex in El Dorado, Arkansas.

The site was formerly owned by Georgia Pacific. Conifex will create approximately 120 new, full-time jobs as a result of its approximate $80 million commitment to the facility. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson joined the company's leadership and local officials at the announcement today in El Dorado.

"This project provides Conifex with access to lumber and timber markets in the U.S. South. Our commitment of $80 million to this facility will ensure the long term sustainability of this site and contribute to our overall company growth," said Conifex CEO Ken Shields. "We are pleased by the warm welcome and professionalism of the government and private sector partners we have worked with here in El Dorado and throughout the state."

Conifex is primarily engaged in the manufacture of structural grade Spruce Pine Fir dimension lumber. The company plans to create a state-of-the-art mill in El Dorado producing 180 million board feet initially.  Sawtimber purchases are expected to amount to 700,000 tons per year, or $30 million, from suppliers within an approximate 60-mile radius.

"Timber plays a vital role in our state's economic vitality," said Governor Asa Hutchinson. "The industry directly employs more than 37,200 workers in Arkansas, and I'm thrilled to welcome Conifex to the state. This will have a significant economic impact on many families throughout South Arkansas."

Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Conifex Timber Inc. was established in 2008 when it acquired its first idled sawmill in British Columbia. A second mill followed two years later as well as a biomass power plant that has been in operation since 2015.  The company has invested about $80 million in two Canadian sawmill complexes and related businesses as well as $100 million in its green power generation business, creating over 500 jobs.  This will be Conifex's first facility in Arkansas and the Southern U.S.

"The positive impacts of the plant are many fold," said El Dorado Mayor Frank Hash. "From timber owners, timber harvesters, timber processors, plant maintainers/suppliers and product transporters, the economic gains to all will be significant! The City of El Dorado welcomes Conifex."

"I have been driving by that property twice a day for the past 10 years, and I'm glad to see the property back in use," said Union County Judge Mike Loftin. "The jobs that will be created for citizens of Union County will be a great boost to our local economy and many will see great benefit."
Jan. 20, 2017 - Wood products company EACOM announced that it has successfully completed the installation of a new lumber grading system in its Elk Lake, Ont., planermill. The equipment was manufactured by Autolog, Inc, a Quebec company, and features the latest technology in lumber grading. With this recent project, the replacement of the two sawing lines and edger, as well as the reconfiguration of the co-products handling system, EACOM has invested over $13 million into the Elk Lake Sawmill since 2012.

EACOM Timber Corporation is a major eastern Canadian wood products company formed in 2008. Operations include the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of lumber and wood-based value-added products, and the management of forest resources. EACOM currently owns seven sawmills (five in Ontario, two in Quebec), a remanufacturing facility (Quebec), and a partnership operation in an engineered I-joist plant (Ontario) for a total of 1,000 employees. The company is committed to investing in strong assets, including healthy forests, advanced technology, and talented people. For more information visit our website at and follow us on Twitter @EACOMCorp.
Jan. 6, 2017 - British Columbians may be interested to discover forestry company Canfor is near the very top of the list of tech adopters in the province.
Jan. 4, 2016 - The Town of Botwood in Newfoundland is hoping a proposed sawmill and biofuel facility will help restart the local economy. 
Jan. 2, 2017 - It's been less than two years since Resolute's newest sawmill in northwestern Ontario opened for business following an accelerated 13-month build.
Dec. 19, 2016 – Ever since the Tolko sawmill in Merritt, B.C. officially closed its doors on Dec. 16, one big question remains.

Where will the fibre for Merritt’s biomass power plant come from?

The $235-million power plant, which is being built by Spanish energy firm Iberdrola, had 95 per cent of its construction phase complete as of Dec. 9.

Fengate Capital Management and Veolia are the developers and equity investors of the biomass plant. The Merritt plant is one of two green energy projects in B.C., as part of the Merritt Green Energy Limited Partnership (Merritt Green Energy). The other is in Fort St. James, B.C.

Delays in the Merritt construction process so far were due to one of the subcontractors in the U.S. going through a bankruptcy.

In a past press release announcing the financing closure on the plant, Merritt Green Energy stated, “Fuel will be provided by local partners, including Tolko Industries, under a long-term fuel supply agreement.”

Canadian Forest Industries reached out to Fengate Capital for comment and received a statement from Merritt Green Energy.

“The closure of Tolko’s Nicola Valley operation will not affect plans for the Merritt Green Energy Project,” Merritt Green Energy stated Monday.

“The Merritt Green Energy Limited Partnership, a working partnership between Fengate Capital and Veolia, is confident that the fuel required to run the plant will be available through an existing agreement with Tolko,” it stated.

Merritt Green Energy, which first announced the project in 2014, also said the facility requires more than 20 full-time staff to operate it and has supported more than 250 jobs at peak construction periods. 

It added that the plant will generate more than 285,000 MWh of renewable electricity when it begins operations. That number is enough to power more than 40,000 homes for a year, according to the statement.

The plant is also planning on reducing its carbon footprint through the use of emissions reduction equipment.

The biomass power plant is scheduled to begin commercial operations and deliver clean electricity to BC Hydro in mid-2017.

RELATED: Building bioenergy in B.C.
Dec. 12, 2016 - The Quebec government announced its plans to support Canadian softwood lumber producers in the event of imposed U.S. duties, regardless of what decision the federal government makes.

The softwood lumber dispute has left many Canadian producers worried about what effect the U.S. government's possible decision to apply taxes to lumber being exported from Canada to the U.S., will have on their jobs and businesses.

The Canadian Press reported on Thursday that Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard confirmed his government's stance to provide Canadian lumber companies with loan guarantees should the need arise.

The 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement expired on Oct. 12, 2015, leaving Canadian and American government officials meeting to come to a new agreement.

If negotiation talks fail, new taxes may be imposed by the U.S. government starting in April 2017.

RELATED: The Final Cut: Defending our softwood lumber industry

Trump targets softwood lumber

Canada's softwood lumber future tied to Trump's agenda

Canada ready for softwood lumber fight

Softwood lumber prices trend upward

Softwood lumber negotiations continue
Dec. 9, 2016 - Vancouver Island's McLean Mill is set to undergo some changes, specifically, a possible rebranding.

Port Alberni Chamber of Commerce executive director Bill Collette spoke about the plans for the sawmill at a meeting on Nov. 30.

According to the Alberni Valley News, he'd like the new tagline to be "more than just a sawmill."

The purpose of the rebranding would be to generate more traffic and make the sawmill more of a touristic site on Vancouver Island. Ideas so far include the sawmill being in operation all year long as a park.

Read more here.
Dec. 8, 2016 - Hefler Forest Products may be sold to an anonymous buyer come January 2017. The Sackville, N.S.-based lumber company has been under creditor-protection since July 2016.

The Chronicle Herald reports Hefler's lawyer, Carl Holm told the court in July that the company owes more than $30 million to four secured creditors and another $30 to 40 million to unsecured creditors.

Hefler, which was founded in 1866, has been a company longer than Canada has been a country.

According to its website, it began rebuilding its sawmill in 2014, which in turn helped to keep more than 50 jobs. The company also has a biomass energy plant, which was completed in June 2015. 

No details are being revealed on the buyer at this time.

Read more details here.

For recent coverage of these projects visit here and here.
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