Ac­tive En­ergy still wait­ing on go ahead from gov­ern­ment

UK com­pany still op­ti­mistic for pel­let plant op­er­a­tion on North­ern Penin­sula

Northern Pen - - Front Page - BY STEPHEN ROBERTS

It’s been more than a year and a half since the Ac­tive En­ergy, a Lon­don, UK-based com­pany, reached an agree­ment in prin­ci­ple with the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment for ac­cess to for­est resources on the Great North­ern Penin­sula for a wood pel­let op­er­a­tion.

AEG is seek­ing a 20-year forestry man­age­ment agree­ment with the prov­ince.

Last week Richard Spinks, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of AEG’s sub­sidiary Tim­ber­lands, made his sec­ond trip to the area — fol­low­ing up on a visit from last Septem­ber — to update lo­cal busi­ness and com­mu­nity lead­ers on the project.

The com­pany aims to pro­duce wood pel­lets — to be mar­keted as a CoalSwitch prod­uct — as a clean en­ergy re­place­ment for coal for Euro­pean mar­kets.

The raw ma­te­rial would come from wood in Forestry Man­age­ment Dis­tricts 17 and 18 – to­talling 1.2 mil­lion hectares of land on the penin­sula.

At the meet­ing in St. An­thony on Oct. 30, Spinks elab­o­rated for about a half hour on the com­pany’s busi­ness model, its plans for the Great North­ern Penin­sula, and the type of prod­uct it in­tends to pro­duce.

Pel­let plant lo­ca­tion un­known

Dur­ing the meet­ing Spinks re-con­firmed that both the towns of Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm and St. An­thony are still in the com­pany’s plans. He says the sawmill in Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm will likely be used to cut lum­ber while the fi­nal prod­uct will be shipped from the port in St. An­thony.

How­ever, a lo­ca­tion is still to be con­firmed for the CoalSwitch plant it­self.

“We don’t know yet where we’re go­ing to make the pel­lets,” he re­sponded to ques­tions from Rod­dick­ton-Bide Arm Mayor Sheila Fitzger­ald. “The sawmill will be in Rod­dick­ton I’m sure, and the wood pel­lets will be de­liv­ered to a lo­ca­tion here which we haven’t got yet.”

It is es­ti­mated there will be five or six ship­ments out of St. An­thony per year.

Spinks says a stor­age fa­cil­ity will not be needed as the prod­uct is wa­ter­proof.

By Spinks’ es­ti­mates, the busi­ness would lead to the cre­ation of 120-130 long-term jobs, di­rectly or in­di­rectly.

Within the plant it­self, the com­pany would em­ploy about 25 peo­ple; but most work­ers would be em­ployed by busi­nesses sup­ply­ing goods and ser­vices to the com­pany.

Spinks es­ti­mates there would be 6,000 or more truck­loads of var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als an­nu­ally, and forestry con­trac­tors would be cut 148,000 cu­bic me­tres of ma­te­rial per year.

Pro­posal re-submitted The com­pany’s pro­posal was also re-submitted to the prov­ince. Spinks says this was nec­es­sary as there were changes made that were out of both the com­pany’s and the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment’s hands.

How­ever, when asked for more de­tails by The North­ern Pen, Spinks said he could not elab­o­rate.

Dur­ing the meet­ing Spinks re­it­er­ated his op­ti­mism that a de­ci­sion would be com­ing soon from the prov­ince.

Spinks says they’re try­ing to iden­tify a start date, but he’s con­fi­dent it is get­ting near.

“(The gov­ern­ment has) been very hon­est and open with me, and I be­lieve we’re close…re­ally close,” he said.

The De­part­ment of Fish­eries and Land Resources re­leased a state­ment to The North­ern Pen in­di­cat­ing it is con­tin­u­ing to work with Ac­tive En­ergy on a pro­posal “that will sup­port and ben­e­fit the North­ern Penin­sula for­est in­dus­try.”

STEPHEN ROBERTS / THE NORTH­ERN PEN

A jar of Ac­tive En­ergy Group’s CoalSwitch prod­uct was passed around dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion.

STEPHEN ROBERTS — THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Richard Spinks, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of AEG’s sub­sidiary Tim­ber­lands.

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