The Ministry of Natural Resources has issued a forest resource processing facility licence to Rentech, to support the company in its conversion of a former oriented strandboard in Wawa to pellet production.
The California company took possession of the former Weyerhaeuser mill last spring.
The licence is required for all mills which consume more than 1,000 cubic metres of wood per year. It also defines how a facility can be converted to another type of operation.
Pellet production is expected to begin in the fall of 2014. The output scheduled to ramp up to 360,000 tonnes of pellets a year by 2016. The operation will employ 35 workers with an additional 200 support jobs in the surrounding communities.
Earlier this year, Rentech ditched its plans to make green jet fuel at a nearby White River sawmill and decided to get into the pellet business and acquired shuttered mills in Wawa and Atikokan.
Rentech has a contract to export pellets overseas to Drax Power, a 4,000-megawatt generator in the United Kingdom. That facility is being converted from coal-powered generation to burning biomass fuel.
“Beginning with the Wawa pellet facility, which will currently be our largest pellet plant, and together with our Atikokan project, Rentech is on track to become the largest producer of wood pellets in Eastern Canada,” said Rentech president-CEO Hunt Ramsbottom in a Nov. 12 statement.
“We are grateful to have the backing of Ontario and the Ministry of Natural Resources to support our investments.”
“The opening of the Rentech facility will provide economic benefits for Wawa, Dubreuilville, White River and Chapleau as well as local First Nations communities,” said Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti.