Plan ex­pected to cre­ate 70 jobs

Wood pel­let plan gets 20-year North­ern Penin­sula forestry li­cence

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMES MCLEOD THE TELE­GRAM

Richard Spinks, CEO of Ac­tive En­ergy Group, says a ten­ta­tive agree­ment on a 20year forestry lease cov­er­ing al­most all of the North­ern Penin­sula will cre­ate around 70 jobs in the re­gion.

Ac­tive En­ergy Group, a Lon­don-based com­pany, an­nounced Tues­day morn­ing it has reached an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple with the pro­vin­cial govern­ment for a lease that would cover all of forestry man­age­ment dis­tricts 17 and 18 — to­talling 1.2 mil­lion hectares of land.

Spinks said the plan is to work with af­fil­i­ated com­pany Ad­vanced Biomass So­lu­tions to man­u­fac­ture wood pel­lets as part of their “CoalSwitch” prod­uct — a form of bio­fuel de­signed to re­place coal at ex­ist­ing power plants with no retrofitting.

“We’re go­ing to pro­duce the full value-chain in the province, on the penin­sula, and cap­ture the value there and the jobs there,” he said.

“There’s go­ing to be a pel­let plant on the penin­sula that we’ll be op­er­at­ing at full ca­pac­ity with some con­sid­er­able in­vest­ment. And also, there’s go­ing to be a new in­vest­ment in forestry tech­niques and equip­ment with lo­cal stake­hold­ers who are cur­rently tra­di­tional log­gers in the re­gion.”

There’s al­ready a pel­let plant on the North­ern Penin­sula at Rod­dick­ton, which re­ceived mil­lions of dol­lars in govern­ment fi­nanc­ing but never got off the ground. Spinks wouldn’t say whether the Rod­dick­ton plant fits into Ac­tive En­ergy Group’s plan.

“I mean, we’re more than pre­pared to build our own plant from scratch, but we may con­sider other op­tions, if they present them­selves,” he said.

Forestry and Agri­foods Agency Min­is­ter Steve Crocker was not im­me­di­ately avail­able for com­ment.

Spinks said the plant it­self will em­ploy 56 peo­ple, with some more an­tic­i­pated em­ploy­ment at the har­bour in St. An­thony, bring­ing the to­tal to about 70 peo­ple.

He said he plans to travel to New­found­land in early June, and will present his plan to the pro­vin­cial govern­ment cabi­net seek­ing fi­nal ap­proval.

He wouldn’t say how much Ac­tive En­ergy Group will pay for the 20-year forestry man­age­ment agree­ment be­cause it’s still a mat­ter of ne­go­ti­a­tion.

“The most im­por­tant thing for us is that we have found the govern­ment in your province to be ex­tremely pos­i­tive about in­vest­ment and about find­ing em­ploy­ment for the province, and I don’t find that every­where I go,” he said.

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