Province approves timber allocation for northern Sask. mill expected to create 700 jobs

(Lisa Risom/CTV Prince Albert)

The Government of Saskatchewan has approved a timber allocation for One Sky Forestry Products to advance the development of an oriented strand board (OSB) plant in the Prince Albert area.

The move will provide the company with timber for the plant, with the remainder of the wood sourced from other mills and Indigenous and private logging companies.

One Sky said the $250 million plant will create 700 forestry sector jobs and that the company has a “priority of hiring a predominantly Indigenous workforce”.

"We have been working with our Saskatchewan investors and First Nations partners for over a year to get to this point and are eager to move to the next phase of project development,” said One Sky founder and board chair Brian Fehr in a news release.

Construction, expected to cost $250 million, is set to start in the fall of 2022 with a projected opening date in 2023.

One Sky says contracting opportunities for businesses in the region will be available during construction and in the ongoing operation.

It will have the capacity to produce 600 million square feet of OSB per year.

One Sky said the plant will need 845,000 cubic metres of timber per year to reach its quantity production targets.

"The One Sky project will help achieve the ambitious goal in our growth plan to double the province's forestry sector by 2030,” said Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre.

In 2020, more than $1.1 billion worth of Saskatchewan forest products were sold – an almost 30 per cent increase over the previous year.

“We look forward to developing this important project for Prince Albert, our First Nations partners and the people of Saskatchewan,” said Fehr.

One Sky is a privately held Saskatchewan corporation formed to construct and operate the One Sky OSB plant in Prince Albert.

The company has partnerships with Peak Renewables Ltd. and local investors. Montreal Lake Business Ventures, Meadow Lake Tribal Council together with Big River First Nation and Wahpeton Dakota Development Corporation are contributing equity and fibre to the project.

“This represents a once in a generation opportunity for Indigenous ownership by the 12 Saskatchewan First Nations that are currently invested,” said Meadow Lake Tribal Council Chief Richard Ben.

The company is also sourcing fibre from additional First Nations communities located near Prince Albert.