Prince Rupert pellet terminal. (Shannon Lough photo)

Proposed $45-million Northwest B.C. pellet plant

Hazelton plant would be largest of its kind in North America and ship to Asia from Prince Rupert.

A spark has been ignited for a new proposed pellet plant to be built in South Hazelton.

The Gitxsan Development Corporation has been working on bringing the project to reality for just over a year. They’ve teamed up with Airex Energy out of Quebec, who has developed technology for a new type of pellet that is a clean alternative to coal.

The biocoal — or torrefied pellets — are created by heating the biomass with little or no oxygen to remove moisture and volatile organic compounds. This turns it into a solid, blackened and weather resistant material. The pellets contain 70 per cent of the mass and 90 percent of the energy content of the pre-treated material.

If this project goes ahead in South Hazelton, this technology will be the first to be used in North America on this scale.

Rick Connors of Gitxsan Forest Inc. said fibre for the project would be provided through GFI as well as a few other local sawmills. Typically, this fibre is waste sawmill residues that are difficult to dispose of.

“This is a completely green and sustainable process. Everyone knows that wood fibre, the residual wood fibre in the basket, that we have is a problem,” he said.

“The Ministry of Forest is looking at a carbon tax program for anyone burning wood in the bush, so in other words, you’ll have to pay to burn fibre at the site.”

The idea is to build a $45-million plant. It will employ around 45 people directly at the site, an additional 46 in the bush and there will also be opportunity for local trucking companies. Pellets will be shipped by rail to Prince Rupert and then off to Asian markets.

“We will start cleaning up the forest properly instead of burning stuff, let’s bring that fibre in. One man’s garbage is another man’s gold,” Connors added. “We are confident there will be some local employment created through the gathering of waste fibre in the bush, stuff that is normally discarded will now have a market.”

Connor and a representative from Airex went to Japan recently where he said interest in the project is strong and the demand for these pellets as a replacement for coal in energy production is rising.

“We are excited for the region. We are excited for the technology. We are excited to bring to the world a technology and a process that will provide 100,000 tonnes of torified, or carbonized pellets for the purpose of replacement of coal in power burning facilities,” he said.

The next steps are finding the money to build it and getting community support.

“We are going through an extensive funding regiment right now, we’ve had some success already. We are proceeding forward, we hope to have all our funding in place by late fall, early winter. At that point we will announce a final investment decision,” he said.

Community engagement sessions will start later in the year.

Just Posted

Robbery suspect arrested near Burns Lake

RCMP use spike belt to deflate vehicle’s tires

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Police patrol for looters in evacuated areas south of Burns Lake

RCMP have brought in extra officers for the task

Fire chases Burns Lake crews out of their own camp

Crews are having to leave after a wildfire reportedly overtook their sleeping quarters

Wildfire update for Au. 17 2018

Shovel Lake: 79,192.0 hectares (estimated) - yesterday 68,375.0 hectares The Shovel Lake… Continue reading

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Northern B.C. residents face more evacuation orders as some smoke clears up

Regional District of BulkleyNechako issued new, expanded evacuation orders for remote areas Saturday

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Most Read