EACOM invests heavily in Elk Lake sawmill

·2 min read

ELK LAKE - EACOM Timber Corporation has announced that it is making an investment of $8.9 million to equip its Elk Lake sawmill with a new, state-of-the art continuous dry kiln (CDK). The new kiln is expected to be fully operational by early this fall and the equipment will allow for continuous drying of lumber, thus reducing production bottlenecks and energy consumption.

EACOM says this will be the second such installation for the company - the first came in 2017 at its Timmins sawmill.

In addition to being more energy efficient, EACOM says the new system means diesel fuel and propane will no longer be used for heating buildings or two on-site kilns.

Moving forward, all building heat, and the new CDK, will be exclusively powered by direct-fired natural gas.

“Shifting our building heating systems to a cleaner burning fuel is more environmentally friendly and in line with our objective of improving sustainability across our operations,” said Biliana Necheva, senior advisor, public relations at EACOM.

The Elk Lake sawmill, according to EACOM, supports more than 140 workers directly, a further 210 jobs in woodlands operations, and hundreds more via vendors, contractors and transporters.

Looking ahead, Necheva said EACOM is always working to optimize its production, “and invest $15-16 million in equipment maintenance and upgrades in any given year. A new CDK and heating system is a very significant project for a sawmill and that is where we will be focusing our efforts in the near term,” she said in an email interview.

LONG-TERM VISION

“This significant investment in Elk Lake is a testament not only to EACOM’s commitment to technological innovation and being best-in-class, but also to our long-term vision for this region,” said EACOM president and CEO Kevin Edgson.

“Built over 50 years ago, this mill has thrived alongside the community thanks to sustainable forestry practices and, now, with this latest addition we are confident it will be an important partner for many more years to come,” he said in a press release.

Edgson said that the COVID-19 pandemic and the “subsequent demand for our essential products” has “highlighted the need to fast track some of these investments and maximize our production capacity.

“We are proud that the fibre we harvest sustainably around Elk Lake is turned into homes for families across North America, as well as paper, cardboard, sanitary masks, and is even used in medication.”

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker