Alberta Biobord Corporation’s plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near Stettler continue to move forward.
According to a release, “The company has signed a land purchase agreement on a full quarter-section situated in Stettler County that has excellent highway and railway access and is sufficient in size and layout to meet all development requirements.
“The initial application for rezoning has already been filed and the application for the first phase Pellet Mill Development permit is being prepared for filing.”
George Clark, president and CEO of Alberta Biobord, said that in keeping with these developments, Alberta BioBord has also advanced the project design work necessary to prepare for construction by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TR Canada E&C Inc as the engineering contractor.
“Alberta Biobord is working its way towards construction of our pellet plant first, followed by the Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF) plant,” he said.
“By securing land, filing our zoning application and signing an MOU with TR Canada to do the engineering work, we are sending a strong message to Stettler County and the Town of Stettler, the province of Alberta and the marketplace that Alberta Biobord is steadily moving towards putting hundreds of Albertans back to work,” he said.
“The acquisition of our land is a huge step in showing the marketplace that this project is steadily moving towards a final investment decision.”
As mentioned, the plan includes the development of a straw and waste wood-based 300K/yr MT Pellet Mill plant.
“The original location that we had in mind was perfect logistically for everything we needed, and we felt it was far enough away from existing residential. But what we found was that both the Town and the County have long range plans that it’s where residential development would head out,” he added.
“So we ended up looking for properties that were in areas where we knew that both the Town and the County wished to have industrial development located,” he explained.
“We reached a land purchase agreement for that quarter-section that is within that region for industrial development just outside of the town. We still have rail access, and we still have highway nearby – it’s also close enough for the water connection,” he added.
According to a release, such a pellet mill facility can be designed, built and commissioned on a fast-track schedule, producing first pellets fall of 2021.
There would also be a $36 million investment in this first phase with site preparation and construction being targeted to start this spring if everything goes according to plan.
Alberta BioBord has also designed a project to manufacture 450 million square ft. of three-quarter inch equivalent thick medium density fibreboard (MDF) using wheat straw as the raw material to meet a third of the current North American MDF market shortage.
The main factory building envelope footprint would be about 750,000 sq. ft. with estimated final investment landing around $1 billion.
“We are very excited about these partnerships; we have already established good working relationships with TR Canada and the Town and County of Stettler,” said Clark.
A Stettler office was also recently opened and Clark said the feedback has been positive.
“We’ve had a great start to those conversations and are very encouraged by the reaction of everyone we’ve talked to.”
Earlier this year, Clark had explained how Stettler was proving to be an ideal place for the facility, what with a large base of workers for both construction and operation within a 45-minute radius of the community.
Access to transportation routes is also a major plus, he said, adding that there is also a large volume of water that would be accessible for operations.
The office here in town is staffed by Alberta Biobord Director and VP of Community Outreach Lorne Murfitt.
Looking ahead, an open house is being organized for the first part of April to better acquaint folks with the plans.
“We’ve had a steady flow of people into our office location – very positive from all walks of life both from people looking for future employment and people looking to see what the investment opportunities or spin-off contracting opportunities might be with us. So far, we’ve had a very positive response.”