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June 11, 2020

First new B.C. sawmill in 15 years begins operations

First new B.C. sawmill in 15 years begins operations

Following a 2017 purchase of a former Coulson Manufacturing mill in Port Alberni, B.C., by San Group, British Columbia now sees its first new sawmill in 15 years as San Group begins operations at a new mill located beside its 2017 purchase.

The new mill will partner with its neighbouring mill to turn second- and third-growth small-diameter logs into lumber products that will be sent to markets around the world.

“Incredible happiness for our guys here who did the work, and for the community but most importantly for Kamal and Suki Sanghera,” said San Group Port Alberni general manager Bruce Molander. “This has been their dream and to see it actually come to pass is very, very cool.”

The Sanghera family has invested $150 million in this and other facilities in Port Alberni, clearly believing in the future of this community and the industry.

“It’s really exciting for Port Alberni and largely because we have felt those ups and downs of the forest industry,” said Port Alberni Mayor Sharie Minions. “I think there are a lot of people who think the forest industry was decreasing to the point where eventually it would go away.”

The mill’s success depends on a constant supply of fibre to keep the mill running.

“We’re banking on being able to access some of those small log purchases before they’re exported on a ship,” said Hall.

The SAN Group will eventually employ about 250 people in Port Alberni.

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