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Western completes kiln upgrade at Saltair sawmill, initiates additional $35M investment

February 27, 2024  By CFI Staff

The newly installed $12 million continuous dry kiln at the Saltair Sawmill increases the mill’s capacity for continuous drying of lumber, and also provides environmental benefits by reducing energy consumption. Photo: WFP.

Western Forest Products has announced the completion of the installation of a continuous dry kiln at its Saltair sawmill.

The $12 million investment increases lumber drying capacity and reduces energy consumption. The new kiln adds to the three existing kilns on site for drying lumber. The Saltair sawmill is the largest single-line sawmill on the coast of B.C. following previous multi-phase strategic capital investments of over $42 million to modernize the sawmill since 2013.

With plans for two more kilns and an additional $35 million investment, Western Forest Products aims to enhance its transition to higher value products. The additional kilns, each with an annual capacity of 70 million board feet, will support increased production for mass timber applications. This initiative is part of Western’s broader strategy to modernize its B.C. Coastal operations, with over half a billion dollars invested in the past decade. These upgrades sustain 3,500 jobs and support communities across the province.

“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. 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,” said Steven Hofer, Western Forest Products president and CEO.


“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. Increasing the company’s competitiveness paves the way for employment and opportunities for our members,” added Brian Butler, president of United Steel Workers local 1-1937.

One of the kilns will be constructed at the Duke Point sawmill in Nanaimo, B.C. and the other one at its Value-Added Division in Chemainus, B.C.

“This mill upgrade is great news for our community and a testament to our workforce in Ladysmith. The forest sector is the backbone of the B.C. economy and increasing its competitiveness through investments, such as these by Western Forest Products, support the communities and individuals who rely on these industries,” said Mayor Aaron Stone of the Town of Ladysmith.



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