Pinnacle Renewable begins development on 7th pellet mill in B.C.

By Sue Retka Schill | April 28, 2014

Pinnacle Renewable Energy has begun development of its seventh pellet mill facility in British Columbia, which when completed will bring the pellet producer’s total capacity up to 1.5 million metric tons, Leroy Reitsma, president and chief operating officer, said.

The proposed $39 million pellet plant with an annual capacity of 250,000 metrics tons is to be built adjacent to the Lavington sawmill operated by Tolko Industries Ltd. The companies recently learned that the Agricultural Land Commission has approved the nonfarm use of agricultural land to allow for construction of the proposed plant on the site.

“We have strong expectations that the project will proceed,” Reitsma said, “but we have a couple of more hurdles to meet.” There are zoning requirements on the land that must be addressed, plus a couple more steps in the environmental permitting process. Reitsma said he expects to have a better idea by August on when construction on the facility will be able to begin. The Tolko sawmill at Lavington will be the anchor supplier of fiber for the pellet facility, Reitsma said, “and we’ll be drawing fiber from around the region.”

While Pinnacle’s B.C. pellet facilities can swing between industrial and residential pellets, Reitsma said most of the company’s production goes into the industrial pellet export market. The company’s six pellet mills in British Columbia are located at Armstrong, Williams Lake, Quesnel, Strathnaver, Houston and Burns Lake. The Burns Lake mill, the last to be brought online, began operations in 2011. The six mills have a capacity of just under 1.1 million metric tons, which according to the company website, comprises 56 percent of Canada’s total pellet production.