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Lethbridge canola plant's $120M facelift to create 'most modern' crushing facility in North America

The owners of a major canola processing plant in Lethbridge are spending $120 million to modernize the facility and boost its crush capacity.

Upgrades at Richardson facility will boost crush capacity to 700K metric tonnes per year

Richardson International Ltd. is investing $120 million in its canola processing plant in Lethbridge to modernize the facility and increase its canola crush capability. (Richardson International Ltd. )

The owners of a major canola processing plant in Lethbridge are spending $120 million to modernize the facility and boost its crush capacity.

Richardson International Ltd.'s operation currently processes about 450,000 metric tonnes of canola per year.

When the upgrades are completed by this time next year, the plant will be able to crush more than 700,000 metric tonnes annually, the company said in a release. 

A new high-speed receiving system will be able to receive 800 metric tonnes of canola per hour.

Canola has many uses, including bio-fuel and cooking oil. (Nathan Day)

The project will have no net impact on the 160 jobs at the plant. 

"Combined with its canola processing plant in Yorkton, Sask., Richardson will have the capacity to process over 1.7 million tonnes of canola per year," the company said.

Upgrades to the facility began last year with the addition of new processing equipment and construction of a new high-efficiency seed-receiving facility.

"This will allow us to better serve our customers and create a state-of-the-art facility that is very efficient for its size, positioning us to compete with the most modern canola crushing facilities in North America," said executive  vice president Darwin Sobkow.

Richardson handles and merchandises all major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds and processes and manufacturers oats and canola-based products. The Winnipeg-based firm has over 2,500 employees across Canada and the U.S., the company says. 

An aerial view of the Richardson canola plant in Lethbridge. (Richardson International Ltd.)