A new $115 million LaSalle Lumber Company LLC sawmill in the Central Louisiana community of Urania has been dedicated by Ruston-based Hunt Forest Products and British Columbia-based Tolko Industries. The sawmill, a joint venture of the two companies, was built during 2018 and has created 115 new jobs. Louisiana Economic Development (LED) estimates the project also will result in 307 new indirect jobs, for a total of more than 400 new jobs in Central Louisiana and surrounding regions.
LaSalle Lumber Company also is supplying residual wood waste from its lumber operations to LaSalle BioEnergy, a renewable energy manufacturing plant operated by Drax Biomass and located next to the sawmill in Urania. That biomass site produces wood pellets that are shipped to the Port of Greater Baton Rouge, then to export markets in the U.K., where they fuel electric power generation.
“LaSalle Lumber Company, which complements the LaSalle BioEnergy plant, represents the resurgence of a great forest products manufacturing center for which this region of our state is well-known,” said Gov. John Bel Edwards. “We congratulate Hunt Forest Products and its Canadian partner, Tolko Industries, for their wise investment in a technologically sophisticated sawmill that draws on the great forestry resources of this region’s timber landowners and dedicated workforce. We view this project as a great next-generation investment in our sustainable forest products industry.”
LaSalle Lumber Company produced its first commercial shipment of lumber in March 2019 and began ramping up to full operation of two 10-hour shifts, four days a week. The sawmill will source approximately 850,000 tons of wood per year to produce about 200 million board feet of lumber annually.
“With more than 100 years of family history in the Louisiana forestry industry, we are thrilled to continue that tradition and bring this state-of-the-art sawmill, and more than 100 skilled jobs, to Central Louisiana,” said Trott Hunt, co-owner and chairman of the Hunt Forest Products Board of Directors. “There is a massive inventory of southern yellow pine in this region, and we are proud to provide an outlet for local timber suppliers.”
“We are proud to be here today with our partners, Hunt Forest Products, to officially welcome this world-class facility to the family,” said Tolko Industries President and CEO Brad Thorlakson said. “We want to thank our employees who have completed a successful startup of the mill, the people of LaSalle Parish for their gracious welcome and support, and the State of Louisiana for working with us to make today possible. The Hunt family shares our values and commitment to safety, and we’re excited about what we can accomplish together.”
LaSalle Lumber is located on approximately 125 acres of the 285-acre former Louisiana Pacific sawmill site in Urania. Drax Biomass occupies the other 160 acres of the site, and procures residuals and wood fiber from LaSalle Lumber for use in manufacturing wood pellets.
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