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

Pregnant Cariboo firefighter tries to save own house from blaze

Julia Flinton and Anthony Sellars both worked on the 2017 wildfires

School District 27 announces new hire for superintendent position

Chris van der Mark comes with experience from the Bulkey Valley

RCMP find loaded rifle in car after pulling driver over

A weekly police report for 100 Mile House and area

West Fraser curtails production at Chasm, 100 Mile for 3 weeks

“It affects the whole province of British Columbia. I hate to see this happening.”

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

First Nation supporters march to Horgan’s MLA office

Dozens marched across the Greater Victoria community of Langford to support the Wet’suwet’en people

Ratfish generates social media buzz on Vancouver Island

Boneless, glowing creature a common bycatch, but it usually stays in deep waters – fish expert

UPDATE: Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

SUV wedged on top of car in B.C. mall parking lot has customers confused

The accident occurred Tuesday, no injuries were reported

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Most Read