Seward businessman touts laminated veneer

Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2004

ANCHORAGE - Seward businessman Dale Lindsey and an Alaska forest products consulting firm are working with a Canadian forest products company on a possible $60 million project to build a laminated veneer lumber mill.

Lindsey, who is working with Huskywood LLC, believes Seward is a good location for the plant because timber can be supplied from coastal regions as well as Southcentral and the Interior. The Canadian company was not named.

A laminated veneer lumber plant in Seward could export its products to markets in the Far East. The plan hinges, however, on whether the state of Alaska can make a supply of wood available for the plant through a long-term timber sale on state lands, Lindsey said in a Jan. 24 letter to State Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin.

State lands in the Susitna and Tanana regions of Southcentral and Interior Alaska have enough timber to supply the plant, Lindsey wrote in the letter.

"State lands in these regions are capable of providing the primary fiber supply for and LVL mill, utilizing a harvest approach that is balanced and consistent with the sustained yield principle," Lindsey said.

Laminated veneer lumber is a relatively new product used in construction and its use is growing fast worldwide. It was developed about 15 years ago in the forest products industry as a way to use smaller, lower-value logs in making high-strength manufactured beams or other building products.

Lindsey and others working on the project are considering a 40-acre site in Seward owned by the Alaska Railroad Corp. as a possible location for the plant.

Logs could be transported to Seward from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough or the Interior on the railroad. The mill would probably require 35 million board feet of birch, spruce or cottonwood yearly, according to Terry Brady, of Huskywood.

Harvesting and transportation of logs would employ an estimated 200 people, and plant operations and support would require about 200 employees, Brady said.

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