Sunday, April 29, 2012

Another BC Sawmill Explosion - Pine Beetle Related?

It is really unfortunate to see another BC sawmill explosion just months from a previous one.  In the latest Prince George incident, two workers died and over 20 were injured.

The problem seems to be narrowing down to a build up of sawdust from dead pine trees.  After pine are killed by mountain pine beetle, the stems are left standing in the woods and begin to lose their moisture content.  By the time the stems arrive at mills (possibly years later), the wood can be tinder dry.  I've heard a few people comment on other 'close calls' where timber has caught on fire during the work progress.

When the timber is cut at the mill, sawdust particles are released into the air.  With large volumes of timber cut on a daily basis, this dust can add up as it settles throughout the workplace.  If nothing is done, this can become a fire and explosion hazard as we now know.

Awareness is now very high on this problem, and I heard on the radio that WorkSafe BC plans to do more mill inspections in BC to check for this very issue.

One of the articles on the sawmill explosion is linked to below.  The end of the article has information for donating to fund for the victims of the explosion.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Sad Tale of Sino-Forest Corp

Did you know that Canada's once largest forest company (by dollar value) didn't even have any woodland operations in Canada?

Near it's peak, the company was worth around $6 Billion and its shares traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Sino-Forest Corp operated mainly in China and owned/operated woodlands in that country.  The promise of China's growing economy and the advantage of operating within it pushed the company's shares to higher highs.

However, the story proved too good to be true, and a report by investing company Muddy Waters found many holes in the Sino-Forest story.  Presently, the company is under fraud allegations and bankruptcy protection, with creditors owed $1.8 Billion (not to mention losses sustained by shareholders).

It was once Canada’s largest publicly traded forestry firm, but less than a year after Sino-Forest Corp. was first rocked by fraud allegations, the company is insolvent and has been forced to seek bankruptcy protection from creditors and put itself up for sale.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Canadian Wood Products Manufacturers Combine Efforts

Competition from China and other countries is forcing Canadian makers of wood products to combine efforts.

Although exports of lumber to China and other countries with growing economies have greatly helped Canadian lumber manufacturers, if you make value-added wood products in Canada (e.g.: furniture, flooring, doors) then you likely face fierce competition from international companies.

Recently, some of these Canadian manufacturers have been meeting to share ways to market, increase productivity, reduce waste, and improve products.  By sharing each other's secrets and processes, everyone benefits.

In years past – tumultuous years, given the surge of competition from China and the soaring Canadian currency – these small and medium-sized makers of furniture, flooring, doors and cabinets viewed each other as direct competitors. Now, 30 business owners gather every few months in small boardrooms to share ideas.

To read the full article, click below: