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New OSB mill proposed for Prince Albert

New OSB mill proposed for Prince Albert

A new oriented strand board mill has been proposed for Prince Albert with a capacity of 600 million square feet (3/8 – inch basis) annually.

The province announced on Sept. 8 that One Sky, the company formed to operate the mill, had secured a timber allocation from the province.

“We are extremely pleased with today’s announcement from the Government of Saskatchewan awarding One Sky Forest Products and our partners the fibre tenures necessary to move our project forward,” One Sky founder and Chair of the Board Brian Fehr said in a news release.

The mill will require about 845,000 m3 of timber annually, with a large portion of that coming from provincial forests, but they will also source supply through commercial agreements with other mills, Indigenous timber allocation holders and private landowners

“We have been working with our Saskatchewan investors and First Nations partners for over a year to get to this point and are eager to move to the next phase of project development.  We thank the Government of Saskatchewan and look forward to developing this important project for Prince Albert, our First Nations partners and the people of Saskatchewan,” said Fehr.

The mill is projected to create 700 new jobs in the area and help double the forestry sector growth.

It is the second piece of good news for the forestry sector recently as Paper Excellence announce in May 2021 that they would open the Prince Albert pulp mill (closed since 2006) in two years.

The North American residential construction industry is forecasting a decade of growth, a projection that has made wood production more attractive as a business opportunity.

“Forestry is northern Saskatchewan’s largest sector and supports nearly 8,000 jobs and hundreds of businesses,” Energy and Resources Minister Bronwyn Eyre said. “The One Sky project will help achieve the ambitious goal in our Growth Plan to double the province’s forestry sector by 2030 and further strengthen Saskatchewan’s economy.”

The One Sky’s mill will manufacture performance-rated OSB sheathing, a preferred wall, roof and sub-floor sheathing material. 

The timber allocation will also support the growth of other, value-added manufacturing in the forestry sector in the province.

“Saskatchewan’s growing forestry sector is supported by abundant ecosystems that cover more than half of our province,” Environment Minister Warren Kaeding said.  “We welcome sustainable developments and will work with industry partners to ensure that our forests continue to be well managed, healthy and sustained over the long term.”

One Sky Forest Products Ltd. is a privately held Saskatchewan corporation formed to construct and operate the One Sky Oriented Strand Board plant in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in partnership with Peak Renewables Ltd. and local investors, Montreal Lake Business Ventures, Meadow Lake Tribal Council together with Big River First Nation, and Wahpeton Dakota Development Corporation, are contributing equity and fibre to the project. 

The company is also sourcing fibre from additional First Nations communities located near Prince Albert.

In 2020, more than $1.1 billion worth of Saskatchewan forest products were sold, an almost 30 per cent increase over the previous year.