Islands’ first briquette plant roars to life

  • Mar. 28, 2015 7:00 a.m.

By Evelyn von AlmassyHaida Gwaii Observer After more than a decade of trying, Port Clements is celebrating the start-up of a new wood briquette plant.After Old Massett Forestry Corporation and Abfam Enterprises secured financing through Northern Savings Credit Union, the $1 million plant on the shore of Masset Inlet was unveiled to dignitaries and residents at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 9.The plant is expected to initially produce 14,000 tonnes of briquettes generating revenues of approximately $280,000 per year.”[The plant is] a large-scale investment, and will be going 24/7 once it’s ramped up.” Ken Rea, Old Massett chief councillor, said.The briquettes are processed out of wood waste that is compressed under high pressure to form cylindrical logs. The logs are then often cut into three-inch disk-shaped briquettes for burning. They have no chemical additives and are valued for burning hotter than regular wood while emitting less carbon. Briquettes can be burned in normal domestic fireplaces or stoves, as well as industrial boilers and heating plants or for the production of electric power from biomass. The new plant is being hailed as a positive step to help Port Clements after recent years of declining population.Abfam co-owners Dan Abbott, Jim Abbott and Randy Friesen said they estimate they will need between six and 10 employees for the operation.The Abbotts said they plan to expand production at a later date, but in terms of numbers they’re taking a wait-and-see approach.”When we establish the margins, and take wood from the bush we’ll see,” Jim Abbott said. “But a second phase of briquette production will increase the annual capacity to 30,000 tonnes of finished briquettes and has the capacity to process and market all of the wood waste generated on Haida Gwaii.”

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