August 27, 2012
Saskatchewan canola plant gets major upgrade
RICHARDSON OILSEED LIMITED
Richardson Oilseed Limited is planning to start construction this fall on an ambitious expansion project at its canola processing plant in Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
The project will increase crushing capacity by 25 per cent while still maintaining full operations during construction.
“We have full approval to proceed with the project,” said Pat Van Osch, vice president and general manager of Richardson Oilseed, a division of James Richardson & Sons Limited, a Canadian-owned private corporation with interests in agriculture and food processing.
“We are in the engineering stage, the conceptual concept has been completed and we are doing detailed engineering, which involves the placement of equipment, linking the equipment together and the structural engineering for the building expansion.”
The company is expanding the capacity of its Yorkton canola processing plant only two years after the $170 million facility opened in June 2010.
The project will increase processing capacity from 2,400 tonnes of canola per day to 3,000 tonnes per day.
The expansion will allow the Yorkton plant to process more than one million tonnes of canola per year compared to its current 840,000 metric tonne annual capacity.
The detailed engineering documents break the project into phases and are being used to get equipment and construction quotes from various suppliers and general contractors.
According to Van Osch, the most challenging aspect of the project is undertaking construction, while the plant continues to operate at full capacity.
“It is a balancing act,” said Van Osch.
“We have an annual shutdown in June. The final connection will take place at that time. Beyond that it is a logistics and safety co-ordination issue, to make sure the expansion does not interfere with the operations of the plant. It’s like five different plants that make up the entire process and each will get an upgrade.”
Van Osch said increased demand for canola is the result of strong demand from domestic and international food markets, which is being driven by growing consumer interest in healthier food products and biodiesel mandates.
A study commissioned by the Canola Council of Canada in 2011 reported that an average of 12 million tonnes of canola was produced in Canada during three crop years: 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10.
The production of canola between 2007/08 and 2009/10 contributed about $5.25 billion to the Canadian economy.
In the first quarter of 2012, Richardson International Limited said it is making plans to acquire more than $900 million worth of assets from Viterra, including grain handling, crop input and processing facilities and related working capital.
The assets are being divested by Glencore International plc after its acquisition of Viterra.
The assets to be acquired by Richardson include 19 country elevators and the crop input centres co-located with those elevators, which complement the Richardson Pioneer network of grain elevators and crop input centres across Western Canada.
James Richardson & Sons, is a family-owned company headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The company operates in agriculture and food processing through Richardson International Limited, as well as oil and gas exploration through Tundra Oil & Gas Limited, financial services through Richardson Financial Group and property management through Richardson Centre Limited.
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