Protocol Biomass' Ontario pellet mill gets green light

By Sue Retka Schill | July 08, 2014

Protocol Biomass Corp.’s proposed pellet mill for Prescott, Ontario, is nearing the final planning stages. “We will be in construction by the late summer for sure,” said Thomas Logan, CEO, “and we anticipate being in commercial operation by the fourth quarter of 2015.” With long-term fiber supply and European offtake agreements in place, and financing plans matched up, Logan told Pellet Mill Magazine the company’s project engineers are now working on finalizing equipment and contractor arrangements.

“We’re quite happy,” he said. “We have all our logistics nailed down. We will be shipping from our plant to a rail siding 17 kilometers away. We’ll be shipping 15 biomass railcars, five days a week to our storage terminal at a port in Quebec. And our offtake is based on a shipment every five weeks.” 

Protocol Biomass expects to produce 375,000 tons per year, with the plant having a top capacity of 415,000 tons. The industrial pellets will be comprised of about 75 percent hardwoods, with the remainder from softwood. The company expects to utilize around 80 percent round wood, with the remainder chips.

The production facility will be built on a 70 acre site in the Prescott industrial park just north of the community of 5,500 people. “We’ll employ 60 people and, with a 2:1 indirect to direct employment metric, drive another 120 jobs in the region,” he said. “We are welcomed in an area that has suffered with the downturn in the wood business.” In addition to the closure of a number of area sawmills, a Domtar paper mill closed in recent years. “As a result, we’re blessed with a wood-savvy workforce and number of our fiber suppliers are fourth or fifth generation.”

Once this first project is rolling, Logan said Protocol Biomass expects to develop projects two and three.