Millar Western applying to temporarily restart its Fox Creek wood-waste burner

Pursuant to s. 78 of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act, Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. is applying to the Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) for a Certificate of Variance (CoV), to temporarily restart its wood-waste incinerator located on the site of its Fox Creek sawmill (Legal Land Description: SE18-62-18 W5). Millar Western wishes to reactivate the burner, which was decommissioned in July 2016, to dispose of a wood-waste surplus.

Under normal circumstances, the wood waste produced at Millar Western’s Fox Creek sawmill is sent to a regional 25-megawatt power facility, for green electricity generation; however, due to an extended shutdown for capital improvements last year and a slower than anticipated start-up, the power plant was unable to accept all contracted volumes, resulting in a substantial build-up of material. A subsequent fire in the existing biomass pile at the power plant prevented additional wood residual deliveries, further contributing to growing stockpiles. Other interested end users have since indicated that they are unable to accept additional volumes, also over concerns of fire risk. Given an oversupply of these materials in Alberta, Millar Western has been unable to find other commercial uses for excess inventories.

Millar Western is asking the Alberta government for permission to restart the Fox Creek wood-waste incinerator and operate it for a period of 18 months. This will enable the safe and efficient disposal of these surplus materials while the company explores new long-term disposal solutions. The Fox Creek wood burner can be made functional with some repair and other maintenance work, and safely restarted, once government permission is granted. Millar Western will comply with all terms, conditions and environmental responsibilities required by the Minister of AEP during the period in which the Fox Creek burner is allowed to operate.

We welcome your input

As part of the application process, Millar Western is seeking the input of stakeholders. If you have questions or comments about this application, or wish to submit a letter of support or objection, please contact:

Jeff Shipton
Manager, Corporate Environmental Services
Phone: (780) 778-2036, ext. 4270

Tom Thompson
General Manager, Wood Products
Phone: (780) 778-2221, ext. 2239

The deadline for submissions is May 21.


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