Nfld. & Labrador

U.K. company lands timber permits for Northern Peninsula, plans for biofuel plant

The local subsidiary of an English company has plans for dozens of jobs in cutting timber and exporting cutting edge fuel.

Timberlands Newfoundland has access to 500,000 cubic metres of timber

Active Energy CEO Richard Spinks is heading up an operation to bring forestry jobs to the northern peninsula. (Submitted)

It's been a long time in the works, but the Great Northern Peninsula now has a new major player on the forestry scene.

Active Energy is a U.K.-based company with a local subsidiary, Timberlands Newfoundland, and plans for a biofuel plant that would put dozens of people to work in the region.

Richard Spinks, managing director of the subsidiary, isn't saying yet where the plant will be located.

"It's a GNP-wide project at this point and we hope to see benefit for all the communities on the GNP," he told CBC's Newfoundland Morning.

On Monday the company announced a deal with the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, where they would have access to 100,000 cubic metres for five years. They will cut in forestry management areas 17 and 18, which encompass the entire northern peninsula.

The biofuel plant proposed by Timberlands Newfoundland will see pulpwood turned into biofuel and shipped to Europe from St. Anthony. (CBC)

Spinks said there will be at least 35 primary jobs, cutting timber in the region. There will also be jobs constructing the biofuel plant, which is expected to take between nine and 12 months to complete.

The product will be shipped from St. Anthony to several countries in Europe, he said.

We pick up that slack. I think that's the most important thing about what we do.- Richard Spinks on market for pulpwood

Spinks said he sees a big market for expansion, since the biofuel is made out of pulp wood — timber that is not high enough quality to make saw logs.

"There's been no market in many areas of the province for the pulp material, which means it's economically difficult for loggers and for sawmillers to increase their volumes," he said. 

"We pick up that slack. I think that's the most important thing about what we do and why we fit so well with the province."

More plants in the future?

Spinks said he will take the next week to speak with everyone involved with the project locally before releasing more details to the media.

The full scope of the project, including where the plant will be built, will be released soon, he said, possibly in conjunction with the provincial government.

Despite just landing the timber rights necessary to build one plant, the company is already thinking ahead.

"I see us building more plants in Newfoundland and Labrador," he said.

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Newfoundland Morning

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