Pictured (l to r): Jimmy Hunt; Brad Thorlakson of Tolko; Douglas George, Acting General Consul to the US Southwest, Government of Canada; Louisiana State Representative Terry Brown; Louisiana Governor Jon Bel Edwards; Louisiana State Senator Neil Riser; Trott Hunt
URANIA, LA — LaSalle Lumber Company today hosted Louisiana Gov. Jon Bel Edwards at a grand opening ceremony for the first new sawmill built in the state in more than two decades.
“This is a great day for central Louisiana, for the state’s timber industry, and for LaSalle Lumber Company, a joint venture between a historic Louisiana forest products company and a major Canadian forestry partner making its first venture into the United States,” Edwards said.
“It is also particularly fitting and historic that we are in Urania, Louisiana, today, where the pioneering Henry Hardtner first began the Louisiana forest products industry more than 100 years ago.”
The new, highly-automated sawmill took less than one year to build and employs 115 people. At full operation, running two 10-hour shifts, four days per week, the mill will require approximately 850,000 tons of wood annually to produce approximately 200,000,000 board feet of lumber. The mill’s first commercial shipment of lumber was made in March.
The mill is a joint venture between Hunt Forest Products of Ruston, La., and Tolko Industries, Ltd., a family-owned Canadian company that produces a wide range of forest products for customers around the world. Tolko, based in Vernon, British Columbia, owns a 50 per cent share in the LaSalle Lumber mill.
“With more than 100 years of family history in the Louisiana forestry industry, we are thrilled to continue that tradition and bring this state-of-the-art sawmill, and more than 100 skilled jobs, to central Louisiana” said Trott Hunt, co-owner and chairman of the Board of Directors of Hunt Forest Products. “There is a massive inventory of southern yellow pine in this region, and we are proud to provide an outlet for local timber suppliers.”
Brad Thorlakson, Tolko president and CEO, said his company is excited about entering the U.S. market and playing a role in the Louisiana forestry industry. “We are proud to be here today with our partners, Hunt Forest Products, to officially welcome this world-class facility to the family,” Thorlakson said. “We want to thank our employees who have completed a successful start-up of the mill, the people of LaSalle Parrish for their gracious welcome and support, and the State of Louisiana for working with us to make today possible. The Hunt family shares our values and commitment to safety, and we’re excited about what we can accomplish together.”
LaSalle Lumber is located on approximately 125 acres of the old 285-acre Louisiana Pacific sawmill site. Drax Biomass occupies the other 160 acres of the site, and the LaSalle Lumber sawmill supplies residuals and wood fiber to Drax for use in manufacturing wood pellets.
About Hunt Forest Products
Hunt Forest Products L.L.C. is a full-service wood products company founded in 1978 with the purpose of providing quality products and superior service. We manufacture a variety of plywood, lumber, and other specialty wood products, and whatever the specification, we can meet your needs. Hunt Forest Products is a family owned and operated company practicing sustainable forestry, and we are certified by the American Tree Farm System and APA – The Engineered Wood Association. For more information: www.huntforpro.com.
Tolko is a leading manufacturer of a wide range of forest products for customers around the world, including lumber, plywood and veneer, oriented strand board (OSB), co-products, biomass power, and a growing number of specialty wood products. For more than 60 years, our family-owned company has delivered reliability, flexibility, efficiency, and quality. We hold third-party certification on the forestlands we sustainably manage in British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan and we play an active role in the communities where our employees live and work. For more information: www.tolko.com.
John Kyte, 318-243-4370