Work is progressing at the Elko sawmill

Several upgrades are now complete at Canfor’s Elko sawmill and the project should wrap up in late spring of 2014


The East Kootenay is home to a rich wood fibre base. The region's forests, which are made up of a mix of Douglas fir, spruce, lodgepole pine, larch and balsam fir, play an important role in sustaining B.C.’s forest industry. In the last couple of years, Canfor Corporation, the largest forestry firm in the province, made a capital investment of nearly $80 million into its East Kootenay assets.

Last year, the company reopened and completely refurbished its sawmill in Radium Hot Springs to the tune of $38.5 million. A further $40 million was set aside for the expansion of the Elko sawmill and $1 million to upgrade the drying capacity at the Canal Flats sawmill.

Work has been taking place throughout 2013 at the Elko sawmill and the project is progressing. Upgrades that are now complete include the installation of a new Comact DDM6 canter designed for curve sawing small- to medium-sized logs and a new cut-to-length log infeed, as well as upgrades to the debarker outfeed and log sorter. A new 51,600-square-foot planermill building is now up and running, as are the maintenance shops and exterior offices.

According to Bid Group of Companies, the company working on the project, the Elko sawmill has been able to remain operating with limited downtime during the expansion. Bid Group is a B.C.-based company that prides itself on having a reputation of completing projects on time and on budget. The bulk of Bid Group’s work is in the forest and mining sectors of B.C. and Alberta.

The Elko sawmill is a producer of SPF dimension lumber for markets in the U.S. and abroad. Canfor’s investment in the Elko sawmill is part of a multi-year capital investment program aimed at enhancing productivity and cost performance across the company.

In a December 2012 press release, Don Kayne, who is the president and CEO of Canfor Corporation said, “These investments are aligned with our strategic investments in our Kootenay assets, and are necessary to ensure our Elko facility can operate competitively in all market conditions.”

The Elko sawmill project is expected to be complete by late spring of 2014.

Canfor Corporation is listed in Kootenay Business magazine’s Top 120 Employers, and as of December 2012, the company employed a total of 776 at locations in Cranbrook, Elko and Canal Flats. Provincially, the company employs more than 3,500 British Columbians. 

Kirsten Armleder

Kirsten is a staff writer and photographer for Kootenay Business who enjoys learning more about the people who help this region thrive. View all of Kirsten Armleder’s articles

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