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

TNRD votes for or against fire protection serice areas tomorrow

The South Green Lake fire protection service area would require $150,000 from taxes yearly

Students at 100 Mile and Mile 108 Elementary visit with reptiles

‘It’s a great way for kids to get educated’

The Grade 7 class of 100 Mile Elementary raise money through art

Roughly $700 was raised through auctioning off their art

New firefighters for 100 Mile Fire Rescue

‘We have four new firefighters and one student’

Crews continue work on South Cariboo fires

Some fires out or under control

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

PHOTOS: Police rescue baby seal found on rocky B.C. shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Most Read