Drax Biomass Inc. (DBI) began start up production this week at its newest facility, LaSalle BioEnergy in Urania, Louisiana.
“This is a very exciting moment, we have a dedicated and motivated work force that after months of upgrades, retrofits, and training is ready to produce,” said Pete Madden, President and CEO of Drax Biomass. “We knew this was a strong facility, in an ideal location and we are eager for it to come online.”
LaSalle BioEnergy will employee approximately 78 employees and is the third pellet plant in DBI’s portfolio including Morehouse BioEnergy in Bastrop, Louisiana and Amite BioEnergy in Gloster, Mississippi. The wood pellet manufacturing facility, which is roughly 160 miles northwest of Baton Rouge can produce approximately 450,000 metric tons of wood pellets per year.
A series of upgrades and repairs have been ongoing at the plant since the acquisition in early April of 2017, supporting a further investment of more than US$20 million for the region. The asset was a strategic investment considering LaSalle BioEnergy’s proximity to an abundant wood basket and its production capacity that supports DBI’s strategy of increasing self-supply.
LaSalle BioEnergy further demonstrates DBI’s commitment to the revitalization of the local wood products sector, which has suffered in recent years from the closure of several large-scale paper mills. Drax Biomass is committed to expanding its positive presence and supporting the communities in which it operates by promoting sustainable forestry and investing in local economic development.