There are plans to start producing first pellets in fall this year near Stettler. (File photo by Black Press news services)

Plans continue to move forward for Alberta BioBord Corp. to set up shop in central Alberta

The company has announced plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant

Alberta BioBord Corporation’s plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near Stettler continue to move forward.

In a release the company states it has signed a land purchase agreement on a full quarter section in Stettler County with “excellent highway and railway access” to meet all the 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 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, the Town of Stettler, and 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.”

The plan includes producing about 300,000 metric tonnes of pellets per year.

“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,” 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.

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 – with a large worker base 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.

Looking ahead, an open house is being organized for the first part of April to better acquaint the community with the plans.

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