Great Plains MDF looks to bring $850 million plant to Kneehill County

·2 min read

Great Plains MDF Production Inc., a Canadian company which produces manufactured medium density fibreboard (MDF), approached Kneehill County regarding building a mill in the county.

Executives from Great Plains gave a presentation to Kneehill County council during their regular Tuesday, February 9 council meeting regarding the proposed $850 million facility.

“The plant itself we’re talking about will provide about 380 direct jobs on-site, another 85 jobs in the head office, and up to 1,900 indirect jobs—straw collection, delivery, plant supplies, maintenance and repairs, outboard transportation. In total, we’re estimating around 2,335 total jobs attributed to the mill,” said President of Great Plains Brian McLeod during the meeting.

Currently, Great Plains is looking to build the facility on three quarter sections between the towns of Three Hills and Trochu, known as Equity. A location for the head office has not been chosen at this time.

The facility will be both the world’s largest medium density fibreboard plant and will be the first to produce MDF with wheat straw rather than wood. McLeod also noted during the meeting Great Plains is also researching using other straws, such as barley and canola to increase output and productivity.

It is estimated the plant will use approximately 800,000 tonnes of wheat straw annually.

Previously, Great Plains had approached the Town of Stettler and Stettler County councils, though the water consumption required by the plant was the ultimate decider against approval.

The mill is estimated to need approximately 1,300 square metres of water per day. However, the facility will not require potable water and McLeod noted Great Plains is in discussion with the Town of Three Hills regarding water supply for the facility.

Following delegation by Great Plains, Councillor Debbie Penner moved to accept the presentation as information.

The motion was carried unanimously.

Lacie Nairn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Drumheller Mail