British Columbia working to finalize new funding for Deadwood Innovations, a JV with Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation that transforms  beetle-damaged trees into EWPs; company aims to build pilot-scale plant at a former mill site in Fort St. James

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FORT ST. JAMES, British Columbia , July 25, 2022 (press release) –

A company that transforms trees damaged by mountain pine beetles and other elements into value-added engineered wood products is expanding, thanks to a boost from the Province.

The Province has provided Deadwood Innovations, a joint venture with the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation, $200,000 over the past two years to support the creation of jobs in rural communities, and to accelerate Indigenous participation in the forest sector. 

“Strengthening B.C.’s forestry sector means tackling the challenges of today, while making sure we seize the opportunities of tomorrow,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests. “This will take all of us working together – the provincial government, First Nations and the forestry industry – to drive forward innovation and greater sustainability, support increased Indigenous participation, and create more jobs for every tree harvested. The work being done by Deadwood Innovations is a perfect example of this vision in action.”

Deadwood Innovations has used the funding to assess, engineer, procure and build a pilot-scale manufacturing plant at the site of the former Tl’Oh Forest Products mill in Fort St. James. The funding is provided through the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program.

The Province is working closely with Deadwood Innovations to finalize new funding so it can commercially produce engineered wood products in its facility through the new accelerator stream of the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program.

The plant design is scheduled to start in September 2022. Deadwood Innovation’s facility will process low-quality, damaged and underutilized fibre into value-added engineered wood products. Its technology is creating new market opportunities by producing engineered wood products that can be customized to meet specifications for industrial wood products and solid biomass fuels. The use of forest waste decreases the need for slash pile burning, reducing carbon emissions.

The forest bioeconomy is focused on using materials left over from logging and forestry, such as bark, shrubs, branches and berries, to make everyday products. This helps shift the forest sector to a high-value, waste-free circular economy that reduces the use of petrochemical-based products and helps fight climate change.

The Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program supports increased Indigenous participation in the forest sector and the development of an Indigenous-led forest bioeconomy in B.C. The aim is to increase the use of fibre and create economic opportunities. Supporting B.C.’s forest bioeconomy is part of CleanBC: Roadmap to 2030, B.C.’s plan to expand and accelerate climate action, while building new opportunities in the clean economy.

Quotes:

Owen Miller, president, Deadwood Innovations Ltd. –

“Deadwood Innovations and our partners have the expertise and technology needed to modernize B.C.’s forestry industry and create new opportunities in communities like Fort St. James. Programs like the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program and its new accelerator stream help fill a gap in start-up funding that is needed for ventures like ours to bring these new products to market.”

Chief Aileen Prince, Nak’azdli Whut’en –

The joint venture with Deadwood Innovations is one example of our Nation’s increasing participation in forestry on our traditional territories. The commercialization of this technology will create more economic opportunities in our community and find new uses for waste, protecting our forests and wildlife for future generations.”  

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is investing almost $4 million over three years to expand the existing Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program.
  • This includes a new accelerator stream providing additional support for projects at the pilot, commercialization, or scale-up phases, helping to address barriers to Indigenous leadership in the sector.
  • Since 2019, the Indigenous Forest Bioeconomy Program has successfully delivered 41 projects with 24 Indigenous communities and organizations around the province.

Learn More:

Read more about Deadwood Innovations: www.deadwoodinnovations.ca

Learn about other actions taken by the Government of British Columbia to modernize the forest sector: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/competitive-forest-industry

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Dan Rivard
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