Corewood Sawmill, a boost for Houston economy

Three forest industry parties in Houston, Canfor, Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc’ and the Tahtsa Group have come to agreement with Corewood Sawmill in order to reduce wood waste.

“For me, I wanted to see and do something to create jobs from something that was being thrown away,” said Klaus Posselt, President and CEO of the Tahtsa Group, based in Burns Lake. “We could do a lot more. The biggest challenge is making some changes to the outdated forest act so that more of these types of fibre can be accessed and fast tracked. The provincial government needs to understand how important it is to small communities, especially given the overall decrease in fibre supply.”

Last year the Tahtsa Group, who is the owner of the Corewood Samill, rebuilt and upgraded their old mill site for this purpose.

The way the agreement works is that Canfor will supply low grade material that does not make the standards for commodity lumber products. Tahtsa’s new mill, Corewood Sawmill, will extract value from the material in the creative form of other wood products. Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc. will receive residual from Corewood for wood pellet manufacturing, which is a joint venture with Canfor.

“The five year supply agreement with Canfor and the off-trade with Pinnacle’s pellet plant supports the new investment in Houston,” explained Posselt. “Canfor and Pinnacle have been very fair and supportive.”

The Tahtsa Group consists of three other sister operations to Corewood Sawmill including Tahtsa Timber Ltd., a log harvesting contractor, Pacific Timber, a sawmill in Burns Lake, and Sheraton Custom Milling Ltd., an operation east of Burns Lake.

“The new Corewood Sawmill at Houston follows the same basic principles practiced at the Burns Lake mill but on a larger scale,” said Karl Garrett, sawmill manager of Pacific Timber. “We anticipate a conservative production estimate at the beginning of 120,000 to 160,000 board feet a shift. When all three mills are operational [Burns Lake, Corewood, and Sheraton, we will consume about 220,000 to 250,000 cubic meters of wood while utilizing the whole tree.”

The heart of the operation is an Optimil canter which was bought from a mill in the United States.

“We’ve refurbished the whole thing including making our own infeeds,” said Garrett.

The Corewood Sawmill will be able to process log diameters from four inches to 20, and the larger stems will be set aside for transporation to their Sheraton Mill in Burns Lake.

The Corewood Sawmill is located off the Morice River Road about one kilometre from Canfor. There are 14 people employeed and the mill has been up and running for approximatley four months.