In 2009, Pinnacle Pellet Meadowbank Inc. received a $250,000 loan from Northern Development through the Community Adjustment Fund program towards this $733,700 project. This has been a funding partnership of Pinnacle Pellet Inc., Northern Development, Bank of Montreal, Community Adjustment Fund, and Pinnacle Pellet Meadowbank Inc.
2012-Pinnacle Pellet Inc. commenced operations in 1989 with the opening of their Quesnel plant. Today, the company operates six plants across BC with a productive capacity of 1,050,000 tonnes of wood pellets annually which comprises fifty-six percent of Canada’s total pellet production. Meadowbank plant, located near Quesnel, was first designed and built with the expectation that ninety percent of the fibre supply would be provided by the nearby Dunkley Sawmill operations. With the reduction in production at the sawmill, the pellet plant is receiving only forty-five percent of its fibre needs directly from Dunkley Lumber.
Due to this reduction, the plant has been forced to seek other sources of fibre, including hog materials from other sawmill operations, whole logs, and residual harvest materials. These other sources of fibre require decontamination and grinding prior to being available for pelletization because these new fibre sources are often contaminated with rocks and metal debris that can cause serious damage to the pellet plant equipment.
Pinnacle Pellet Inc. undertook the installation of a new decontamination system at the existing plant which addresses these issues and allows the plant to utilize these alternative sources of fibre. The decontamination system allows the company to use the new fibre sources while reducing the additional repair and maintenance costs that are caused by the contaminated fibre.
"With the economic downturn in the forest industry, it has forced us to have to diversify our fibre supply. The good news for the entire community is what it does is it will create significant employment. At the end of the day, the community is the winner because there are more jobs in the community."Leroy Reitsma, Vice President, Pinnacle Pellet Inc.
"We believe the utilization of biomass will continue to grow. Biomass is environmentally friendly, it is derived from a source that is ultimately renewable, and pellets will continue to play a key role in the industry as they provide an efficient way of providing fuel for biomass power."Craig Lodge, Vice President, Pinnacle Pellet Inc.
"This government is taking action to ensure communities succeed at this time of economic slowdown. Today's announcement will help our region emerge from this challenging time prosperous and stronger than ever."Jay Hill, former MP, Government of Canada
Wood pellets provide an economical and sustainable energy source that continues to grow internationally. Producing pellets has created a growing industry that has the potential to create many jobs, especially in rural areas, and positively boost regional economics. Wood pellets produce fewer carbon dioxide emissions and burn cleaner than non-renewable fossil-based fuels and can be much more efficient. The installation of the decontamination system at the Pinnacle Pellet Meadowbank plant enabled the company to maintain full capacity production by supplying clean, suitable fibre for the plant. Over a five year period, remaining at full capacity will add almost $5 million in pre-tax earnings for Pinnacle Pellet.
The project provided temporary jobs during its construction for the Cariboo region. Local contractors were used for all phases of the project, from design and engineering to fabrication and installation. The decontamination system required that a new position, responsible for keeping the system fed with fibre, be added to each of the plant's four shifts. In addition to the four operator positions that were created, there was an additional maintenance staff position added to the existing department that is responsible for the maintenance of the new system. These five jobs will be permanent, high-paying jobs. The decontamination system allows the plant to accept a variety of fibre sources, including whole logs and residual harvest materials, which provides forestry jobs to logging contractors and their employees in the surrounding area.