PacBio ceases operations at Prince George pellet plant

By Erin Voegele | March 08, 2022

Pacific BioEnergy Corp. in early March idled production at its 550,000-metric-ton-per-year wood pellet plant located in Prince George, British Columbia. Company officials have confirmed the facility is being sold.

PacBio in December 2021 announced plans to permanently cease operations in early 2022. As part of that announcement, the company said that it had reached an agreement to assign some of its assets, including long-term sales contracts for wood pellets, to Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., part of the Drax Group.  

Approximately 55 direct jobs are expected to be lost as a result of the closure of PacBio.

“Our company has been battling several challenges for the past few years,” said John Stirling, CEO of PacBio, in the December statement. “Sawmill closures in the region have reduced the volume of available raw materials and increased their cost significantly. Forest fires, landslides, and floods have severely impacted our ability to transport our product by rail to the export terminal in North Vancouver. The impact has been a significant increase in operating costs. Our sales contracts have been sold to Pinnacle to mitigate the impact on our customers.”

PacBio was established as Pellet Flame 1994 and began bulk shipments of wood pellets to Europe in 1998. The company opened a new plant and restructured as Pacific BioEnergy Corp. in 2007. PacBio shipped its 1 millionth ton of wood pellets to Europe the following year. Over the next decade, PacBio expanded production capacity and improved environmental controls.