Deal on wood pellets to Japan to help B.C.'s struggling forest industry: Horgan

VANCOUVER — A British Columbia company has signed an agreement to provide 100,000 tonnes of wood pellets to fuel a biomass power generation plant in Japan, a boost for the province's struggling forestry industry.

Premier John Horgan says the agreement between Pinnacle Renewable Energy and Mitsui & Co. adds more value to what is taken out of provincial forests.

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Pinnacle is already the largest supplier of industrial wood pellets to Japan and the new contract will increase the company's production at facilities in Quesnel, Williams Lake, Houston, Hixon, Armstrong, Lavington and Burns Lake.

Horgan told a news conference on Thursday that the agreement will mean more jobs in forest-dependent communities and the use of more wood waste, which had been sitting on forest floors and fuelling wildfires.

Forests Minister Doug Donaldson says in a statement the end of the harvest of pine beetle wood, low lumber prices and the ongoing trade dispute with the United States have created uncertainly in many Interior communities.

He says the value of wood pellet exports continues to grow and as communities come together to map out their futures, such value-added wood products will become more important.

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