Pellet plant gets green light from N.W.T. government

The N.W.T. government has approved a company's proposal to build a pellet manufacturing plant near Enterprise, N.W.T.

Manufacturing plant would be built in Enterprise, N.W.T.

The Northwest Territories is a step closer to getting its first wood pellet manufacturing plant.

A company just got the green light from the territorial government to build a facility in the town of Enterprise, N.W.T.

Businesses and governments are looking to biomass as a cheaper, cleaner alternative to expensive diesel power.

Brad Mapes, the president of Aurora Wood Pellets, said producing pellets in the North will make pellets even cheaper.

"Buying pellets at the price they are in the North right now is about 40 to 50 per cent savings. If we can drop the prices by another 30 [or] 40 per cent, it's going to be a huge savings," said Mapes.

Much of the harvesting will be done around Fort Providence, N.W.T.

Some of it could also be done on land the Métis claim as traditional harvesting grounds.

Communities have been offered $6 for every cubic metre of forest land used.

The new industry could also provide jobs and training for residents.

Wally Schumann, president of the Hay River Métis, said he likes the idea of the pellet plant, but said there are still talks which need to take place.

"It's a little unclear how we're going to harvest it, who's going to harvest it, are we all going to do our own thing or should we maybe all get together. I think that's something that's got to be worked out sooner than later," he said.

Mapes hopes to have pellets on the market by March of 2014.