Red Leaf Pulp Ltd, the developer of an upcoming substantial wheat straw-based pulp mill, held an open house at the Delta Hotel in Regina on August 25th.
Community members were given the opportunity to share questions and concerns about the project during this public event. Martin Pudlas, CEO of Red Leaf Pulp, said the event was well attended and considered a great success.
Earlier this year, Red Leaf Pulp announced that it had secured several properties on the north west side of the City of Regina to commence construction of the $350 million wheat straw facility in early 2022. With the build, Red Leaf Pulp expands into the wheat-straw market for the first time.
Wheat straw, collected and aggregated from local producers, will serve as the raw material for the initial plant, which will be able to produce about 182,000 tonnes of market pulp each year.
When asked how local producers will be able to participate in the program, Martin Pudlas explained “Were looking to participate with growers, we see a model where we would require about 15 per cent of the wheat straw that is present today within a 120-kilometer radius around Regina. We will pay a base price to producers of what is currently available for this product. We ill also have a pricing model for when pulp markets are good. We will be providing a pulp market bonus on top of the base price.”
The company expects that this project will satisfy the outstanding demand in Canada and the U.S. for more sustainable pulp options. Red Leaf Pulp will build several non-wood fibre plants over the coming years, allowing it to produce the first non-wood fiber in Canada.
Red Leaf Pulp will eventually be producing pulp for three main segments explained Pudlas. He stated that the wheat straw pulp will be used for packaging and boxes, paper towel and even molded products like takeout containers.
Currently, wheat straw is not generating the maximum value that it can, but that the new enhanced utilization of this product, will provide a more sustainable alternative to wood-based pulp products. This project will provide an opportunity for the industry to optimize the use of existing resources and diversify revenue streams all while lowering CO2 emissions.
Mayor of Regina, Sandra Masters, also expressed her enthusiasm toward the upcoming build.
"It will highlight innovation in one of our core industries, maximize crop value in an environmentally sustainable way and provide valuable jobs in the low carbon energy sector."
The project will provide $350 million in direct investments in the local economy and is expected to create 110 permanent jobs and 250 jobs during construction.
Construction of the plant will enhance Regina's position as a sustainable, value-added economy based on agriculture and all it has to offer.
Those interested in learning more about this project are encouraged to contact Lauren Nottebrock, Red Lead Pulp's Director of Sustainability, at firstname.lastname@example.org.