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Wednesday, 24 August 2016 15:57

Richardson to invest $120M in Lethbridge production facility

Written by  Dave Mabell
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A $120-million investment will allow Lethbridge’s Richardson canola plant to boost production significantly.


The Winnipeg-based company says the upgraded facility will soon be able to crush more than 2,000 metric tonnes of canola per day — or 700,000 tonnes per year compared with today’s 450,000-tonne capacity.
“We are continuing ongoing capital upgrades in Lethbridge to increase crush capacity and realize greater efficiencies,” says Darwin Sobkow, the company’s executive vice-president for agribusiness and processing operations.
“This will allow us to better serve our customers and to create a state-of-the art facility that is very efficient for its size, positioning us to compete with the most modern canola crushing facilities in North America.”
Work on the latest upgrade is already underway, with the foundation already prepared for a concrete elevator to store more seed. Four years ago, Richardson paid $15 million to upgrade its packaging facilities for margarine and cooking oil.
Richardson International Ltd., a world-wide merchandiser of Canadian grains and oilseeds, launched the latest round of improvements last year. A high throughput oilseed-receiving facility is being built to provide quick turnaround for farmers and truckers bringing seed to the Lethbridge plant.
“Increasing the speed of the receiving plan is a top priority for us to better serve our customers,” he says. Its capacity will be rated at 800 metric tonnes per hour.
“We are committed to making a significant investment in our Lethbridge plant for long-term operations, to continue to grow our business.”
Richardson acquired the former Canbra Foods business in the late 1990s.
The upgrades, scheduled to avoid disruptions in production, will boost the plant’s crush capacity to more than 700,000 metric tonnes per year. Along with a still larger crushing plant built in Yorkton in 2010, it will bring Richardson’s annual processing capacity to more than 1.7 million tonnes per year.
Richardson officials say the Lethbridge facility, which employees about 160, continues to support the community as well as southern Alberta producers.
The 26th annual Richardson Charity Golf Classic, which was held Aug. 17, was set to add to the $1.8 million already raised in support of local causes.
This year’s beneficiaries included the St. Michael’s Foundation, the Coyote Flats Pioneer Village, the St. John Ambulance, the Lions Foundation of Canada and the Purina Walk for Dog Guides.
Richardson, a fifth-generation Winnipeg company, also operates Pioneer grain elevators across Western Canada as well as a vertically integrated oats processing and manufacturing branch with facilities in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

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