Forestry and Agrifoods
The forest product industry sustainably utilizes the forests of Newfoundland and Labrador to produce an array of products valued at approximately $350 million. Comprised of pulp and paper, sawmilling, value-added, and wood energy sectors, this industry provides meaningful employment and is a mainstay and economic contributor in many regions of the province, particularly in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
The pulp and paper sector produces newsprint at the mill located in Corner Brook. With a capacity of 255,000 metric tonnes, Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd. uses a thermomechanical pulping (TMP) process to produce high-quality newsprint for markets in Canada, United States, Asia and Europe. Raw material in the form of balsam fir and black spruce roundwood is chipped on site or from sawmill-processing residue (pulp chips) delivered from local sawmills. In addition to newsprint, the mill generates electrical power from its subsidiary, Deer Lake Power, and produces on-site electricity from its 15-megawatt cogeneration plant.
Although there are many seasonal sawmills in Newfoundland and Labrador, most of the province’s lumber production is achieved by three larger mills that operate throughout the year. Sexton Lumber Co. in Bloomfield, Burtons Cove Logging and Lumber Ltd. in Hampden, and Cottles Island Company Ltd. in Summerford account for nearly 95 per cent of all lumber manufactured in the province. They also have kiln-drying capacity to dry lumber, and sell pulp chips and processing residues to Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Ltd. Softwood lumber, either balsam fir or black spruce, accounts for most sawmill production. Only a very small amount of hardwood (birch) lumber is manufactured. Newfoundland and Labrador has a limited market for dimensional lumber – 50 per cent is generally sold outside the province, primarily in Eastern Canada and the United States. Because of the relatively smaller tree size, most lumber produced in Newfoundland and Labrador is smaller dimension and manufactured into either two by four, or four by six, framing lumber. Lumber lengths are generally restricted to 12 feet or less. Lumber greater than 12 feet is usually imported into the province. Finger-jointing capacity has recently been introduced in the province, enabling the sawmill sector to produce longer-length lumber and meet market demand from pressure-treating companies. This technology has enabled more locally produced lumber to remain in the province, and decreased dependence on the export market.
Value-added wood manufacturing refers to any process that produces a wood product of higher value than the value of the product in its original form, such as manufacturing exterior wood siding from a six-inch piece of lumber board. Value-added products produced in the province include kitchen cabinets and doors, log siding, roof trusses, custom furniture, flooring, stair treads, paneling, mouldings and other types of millwork. Value-added manufacturing companies in Newfoundland and Labrador generally have fewer than 20 employees, and are located in both rural and urban regions of the province. Nearly all products are sold locally and used in home construction. Many companies acquire raw material from local sawmills and utilize local species such as spruce, birch and larch in the manufacturing process. Others use imported species exclusively, or a combination of local and imported wood. There are an estimated 100 value-added companies in operation.
Wood energy – either in the form of firewood, wood pellets or briquettes – is a main source of residential heat for many households in the province. Firewood is an abundant, readily available heat source. Residents may apply for a domestic cutting permit and harvest their own firewood, or purchase from a commercial firewood harvesting company. Wood pellets are a convenient wood fuel and can be purchased in packaged bags from local retailers throughout the province. Wood pellets are preferred by many homeowners because there are fewer handling and storage requirements, and the product is relatively simple to purchase. Although wood pellets are produced locally in the province, most are imported. Wood briquettes, similar to firelogs, are another convenient type of wood heat and are produced in Newfoundland and Labrador by two small manufacturers. Briquettes are manufactured by compressing wood processing residues such as sawdust and planar shavings into a brick or log shape. Unlike wood pellets, briquettes can be burned in a traditional wood stove.
The Forest Service produces an annual Wood Products Business Directory to assist local businesses and to promote networking within the sector. It is anticipated that the listings will be used to help local businesses increase their buying and selling opportunities and develop business to business awareness as an attempt to increase production.
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