Jobs, Tourism and Innovation minister Pat Bell has hinted the Skeena Sawmills deal is not the last that will surface in the Northwest in the next while.
“This one’s exciting,” said Bell of the sale. “But it’s not the end of good news in the region. There are files still active and there will be more good news on the forestry front.
“A lot of the work we started two years ago is now going to pay off,” he added.
He also had more information on ROC Holdings, the company that is buying the saw mill and West Fraser’s timber licences.
It is a subsidiary of a Chinese company heavily involved in real estate and construction, he said, adding the longer range goal is to have lumber produced by ROC Holdings Ltd. flow into the supply stream of its parent company in China.
“They build what they would call subdivisions but what we would call cities …. for 100,000 people,” Bell said.
Bell became forests minister in 2009 and began promoting BC wood to Chinese markets right away. The market began to take off last year with China adding lumber as well as whole logs to its BC resource shopping list.
At the same time, more and more Chinese companies are now buying into BC resource companies to secure their supply lines, said Bell.
He noted one relatively new area to explore with Chinese interests is an expansion of BC port capacity.
The growth in log and lumber exports as well as other resources bound for China and Asia is starting to outstrip port capacity, Bell explained.