Sask. government approves wood supply for sawmills in Carrot River, Big River

The Government of Saskatchewan has approved timber allocations for the Dunkley Lumber sawmill in Carrot River and the Carrier Forest Products sawmill in Big River.

Earlier this week, the province also announced timber allocations for an OSB plant and pulp mill, both in the Prince Albert area.

"It's been a great week for the forestry sector in our province," Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said. 

"Dunkley's Carrot River mill expansion will lead to significant growth in lumber sales and exports.”

The allocation will support a proposed $100 million expansion of the Carrot River mill.

This will allow the mill to increase production by 75 percent, from 130 million board feet annually to 230 million board feet. With the expansion, the Carrot River mill will have the capacity to process 821,000 cubic meters of softwood timber per year.

"The sawmill will add a second saw line and increase production over five phases of development by the fall of 2023,” said Dunkley Lumber president Rob Novak.

The province estimates the enlargement of the Carrot River mill will create 240 new direct and indirect jobs in northeastern Saskatchewan.

The province also announced an addition to the timber allocation for the Carrier Forest Products sawmill in Big River to produce lumber. 

"The increased allocation is the critical piece for us to reach full capacity," Carrier Forest Products President Bill Kordyban said.

The Big River sawmill is the largest of three sawmills in Saskatchewan. 

While the province is allocating more timber required for the Big River sawmill project, the majority of timber will be bought by the company from private loggers who have agreements negotiated with Indigenous timber allocation holders and private landowners.

The Ministry of Energy and Resources said a surge in the global market for home construction and renovation materials has increased demand for lumber, oriented strand board and treated wood products.

In 2020, the province recorded a 30 per cent increase in forestry product sales over the previous year, with over $1.1 billion worth of forest products sold.

The government’s growth mandate plans to double the forestry industry by 2030.

The Government of Saskatchewan allocates timber through the Ministry of Energy and Resources under The Forest Resources Management Act. 

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