Canfor Corporation's Radium sawmill has been inoperative since 2009, when a downturn in the lumber market forced its closure. Photo by Kelsey Verboom

Canfor will pour nearly $40 million into Radium’s currently shut-down sawmill, prepping it for an anticipated reopening by fall/winter.

The Radium facility has been shuttered since 2009, when Canfor Corporation laid off 167 workers indefinitely.

The forestry company announced today it will invest $38.5 million into the mill for a new planer facility, the installation of a biomass energy system, and modifications to the existing mill.

The biomass energy system will allow the mill to operate using thermal energy instead of propane energy, which the sawmill currently operates with. The move to thermal energy will cut back the overall operational costs of the mill.

These investments are critical to support the restart of our Radium division, which was indefinitely closed in May 2009, said Don Kayne, Canfor President and CEO. The fibre in the Kootenay region is amongst the best in the world, and these investments will secure our ability to make top-quality products here to supply global markets.

The capital project at the Radium mill will start in May, with startup anticipated in the company’s fourth quarter.

An additional $1.5 million will be invested in Canfor’s Canal Flats sawmill to improve drying capacity. Canfor bought the Canal Flats mill from Tembec in December, 2011.

These investments represent the first major component of a multi-year capital investment program, aimed at enhancing productivity and cost performance in Canfors BC Southern Interior mill facilities, Canfor said in a press release.

See the May 4th Pioneer for in-depth coverage of this story.