Tolko Industries is expanding into the United States, with a state-of-the-art sawmill, partnering with Hunt Forest Products in Louisiana. (photo submitted)

Tolko announces joint venture to build sawmill in Louisiana

Vernon-based lumber company expands to the United States

Tolko Industries has partnered with Louisiana-based Hunt Forest Products to build a state-of-the-art sawmill near Urania, La.

Construction of the approximately USD $115 million project is expected to commence in April and be completed by December 2018. It will employ about 110 people, and will produce southern yellow pine lumber from timber harvested in the surrounding area. The LaSalle Lumber Company, the joint-venture company building and operating the new mill, is named after LaSalle Parish, the county in Louisiana where the mill will be built.

“This is our first venture into the United States,” said Brad Thorlakson, Tolko president and CEO, “and we are thrilled to be in Louisiana with Hunt Forest Products, a family-owned company like ours, and one that has played a vital, reliable role in Louisiana’s forestry industry for more than a century.”

The scope of the project includes a 200 million-board-foot facility that will consume approximately 850,000 tons of timber annually, three continuous dry kilns and a planer facility. Wood chips, sawdust, planer shavings and hog fuel will be contracted to Drax Biomass, which operates a 450,000-ton wood pellet facility adjacent to the sawmill.

“We are excited to be bringing a high-tech sawmill, and the skilled jobs it will provide, to central Louisiana, and to provide a local outlet for the massive inventory of southern yellow pine that exists in this region,” said James D. Hunt, co-owner and vice chairman of the board of directors of Hunt Forest Products.

Tolko has operated for 60 years across B.C., based in Vernon.

Hunt Forest Products L.L.C. is a full-service wood products company founded in 1978. It manufactures a variety of plywood, lumber and other specialty wood products.

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