New mill in Mackenzie champions innovation, diversity

Duz Cho Forest Products celebrated the official grand opening of its new cant mill, Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson announced today.

The mill was designed to cut cants specifically for export to China, the Middle East, and a small percentage to the United States. It uses small diameter logs, which are primarily mountain pine beetle attacked logs not used nor wanted by other manufacturers in the area. The mill has also experimented with processing deciduous logs (Aspen). Sawmill residue is sold locally to the Mackenzie pulp mill.

The Duz Cho mill provides employment for 28 people and boasts a diverse workforce, with 64% being First Nations. “We are proud of our diverse workforce. The Duz Cho mill is operating above planned production levels in large part because of the dedicated and empowered workforce we are fortunate to employ,” Al Humphreys, CEO, Duz Cho Forest Products said. McLeod Lake Indian Band members make up 50% of the First Nations employed by the mill, with the other half being First Nations from other bands. Thirty-six per cent of the mill’s employees are women.

Duz Cho mine opens in Mackenzie
Duz Cho mine opens in Mackenzie, B.C.

Most of the Duz Cho mill was built from used equipment sourced from across Canada. The mill line is outside, under the overhang of the building, to address dust control and combustible dust issues. It can process approximately 240,000 cubic metres of timber annually.

To keep British Columbia’s economy diverse, strong and growing, since September 2011, the BC Jobs Plan continues to build on the strengths of the province’s most competitive sectors using its educated and skilled workforce. The mill’s staffing complement aligns with the goal under the B.C. Skills for Jobs Blueprint to add 15,000 new Aboriginal workers to the British Columbia workforce over the next ten years