Red Leaf unveils plans for new wheat straw pulp mill in Regina

A new project is aiming to use one of Saskatchewan’s many agricultural resources to supply the world’s pulp needs.

Red Leaf Pulp has unveiled plans to build a mill near the Global Transportation Hub that would turn wheat straw into pulp.

CEO Martin Pudlas says the mill will generate a whole new income stream for producers in the province.

“We think this diversifies income streams for the growers, we think there’s opportunities in terms of future carbon, and carbon reduction that we want to work with the growers on as carbon policy evolves,” said Pudlas. “And it really diversifies their income into an industry that’s not exposed to tariffs.”

He says with Regina’s abundance of wheat straw, it served as the perfect place for the new project.

“When we look at Regina, in terms of even access to our pulp markets, it’s very accretive,” said Pudlas. “There’s a number of factors, but Regina is the best site for plant number one.”

He adds the process they use with wheat straw doesn’t require the use of sulphur, so the mill wouldn’t emit the rotten egg smell that wood pulp mills do.

Nearly 500 jobs will be created with the new mill, but Pudlas says the most exciting thing is Regina’s potential role in a demanding industry.

“The demand for pulp fibre, globally, continues to go up,” said Pudlas. “And as you look at environmental factors like plastic replacement, on top of the growth in tissue and towel, we need to start using more diverse fibre sources than just wood.”

Pudlas says the mill would only require about 15 percent of the wheat straw left from crops to generate enough pulp annually.

Construction on the project is expected to begin in 2022, with operation starting in 2024. Construction is expected to cost around $350 million.

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