Agrifood firm Richardson International’s major canola crush plant at Yorkton in eastern Saskatchewan is set to undergo another round of upgrades which are expected to double its processing capacity.
The company on Monday announced it will start work immediately on “facility upgrades and improvements” that would allow it to process over 2.2 million tonnes of canola seed per year.
Site work would also give the plant a “high-speed shipping system” with three 9,500-foot loop tracks that can serve both major Canadian railways, as well as three high-speed receiving lanes for deliveries by farmers and truckers.
Full-time positions are expected to be added at the plant when the expansion is complete, the company said, but didn’t predict a specific number. A dollar figure on the company’s latest investment wasn’t given in its release Monday.
The Yorkton processing and oil refining plant “will be dedicated to moving canola crush products at some of the most efficient levels seen in North America,” Richardson said.
“The global outlook for Canadian canola oil is promising, and this latest investment emphasizes our ongoing commitment to best in class facilities,” Darrell Sobkow, the company’s senior vice-president, for processing, food and ingredients, said in a release Monday.
“Yorkton lies right in the heart of canola country and we are focused on providing our producer customers with increasingly efficient means for meeting the needs of a growing global consumptive market.”
Construction at the site, due to be completed in early 2024, will involve “no disruption to current operations,” the company said.
“We opened the original Yorkton plant in 2010 and at that time, it was by far the largest capital investment Richardson had ever undertaken,” Richardson CEO Curt Vossen said in a separate provincial release.
“Saskatchewan and Manitoba producers have responded effectively, providing growth in canola production over the years — this has given us the confidence to move forward with expansion once again.”
Saskatchewan’s Agriculture Minister David Marit, in the same release, said Richardson’s expansion “will help Saskatchewan meet the goals outlined in our Growth Plan, which includes a target to crush 75 per cent of the canola our province produces here in Saskatchewan.”
Richardson has been aggressively dialing up its Prairie crush in the past decade, including a $30 million expansion at Yorkton in 2014.
More recently, in 2017, it brought a $120 million expansion online at its Lethbridge canola processing and oil packaging plant, bringing that facility’s peak annual crush to over 700,000 tonnes per year.
The southern Alberta plant, billed by Richardson as one of the first in the world to market canola oil, was previously expanded in 2015, which in turn followed a $15 million expansion on its bottling and packaging facility in 2012. — Glacier FarmMedia Network