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San Group buys specialty sawmill in Port Alberni, Canada
CANADA (News release) -- San Group has purchased another mill in Port Alberni, Canada. The Surrey-based forestry group bought the former Chalwood Forest Products mill on Hector Road, and is already operating while they clean up the site.

Chalwood used to cut yellow cedar exclusively for the Japanese temple market, and was able to cut 20-40-foot long timbers. The Chalwood mill had been shut down for more than a year. San Group was still able to hire back "most" of the employees laid off when the mill shut down. There are 15 workers operating the mill right now, and when it is up to full capacity another 15 will be hired for a total staff of 30. Bruce Molander is the general manager overseeing the new San Forest Specialty mill on Hector Road.

San Group has a mill at the former Coulson Sawmill site - which they purchased a few years ago - that can handle large logs. They are building a second mill for smaller diameter logs at the Coulson site, and now San Forest Specialty will be able to handle longer logs and lower grade wood. They will also be able to use more of the fibre, which will help once the remanufacturing plant at San's third site, on Stamp Avenue, is complete.

The scragg mill at the new site allows them to turn even the lowest quality log into short pieces of lumber and even chips to supply Paper Excellence Canada, the former Catalyst Paper mill.

San Group plans on upgrading the machinery at San Forest Specialty so they will be able to cut red cedar, fir, Sitka spruce and hemlock.

There is also room to expand on the property at San Forest Specialty, and since it is in a rural area, surrounded by a natural berm, noise abatement is not an issue.

In the meantime, work continues at both the Coulson Sawmill site, where the second mill is still under construction, and the remanufacturing site at the corner of Stamp Avenue and Roger Street.

"The second mill is a month behind, but the first test fire should happen at the end of May. Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have put progress at the reman plant behind," owner Kamal Sanghera said. Landscaping of the perimeter of San's property began on Friday and construction continues at the site.

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