Tradewinds Forest Products announced its plan today to begin the first phase of construction of a $62 million veneer manufacturing plant at Ookala on the Hamakua Coast. Groundbreaking is planned for the first quarter of this year.
Phase two of construction entails building a small cogeneration biomass power plant that will burn mill residuals and provide steam for running the dryers to finish the veneer products.
Tradewinds Forest Products has a purchase power agreement in hand from HELCO as well as a Clear Air Permit issued by the State of Hawaii Department of Health.
“We are absolutely thrilled in announcing our construction plans for Tradewinds’ veneer manufacturing plant. Not only will we generate approximately 75 local construction jobs for the next 12 months, but upon completion, Tradewinds Forest Products will create 100 permanent jobs in one of the hardest hit economic regions in the state,” Tradewinds Forest Products President Don Bryan said.
Permanent employment at the veneer mill will begin in spring or summer of 2011. In addition to Tradewinds’ jobs, 60 new jobs will also be created by logging contractors.
“We see Tradewinds Forest Products as a continuation of the Hamakua Coast’s rich agricultural heritage, an opportunity for family wage jobs close to home and a source for badly needed economic diversification,” Bryan said.
Financing in these unusual economic times has been the culprit in delaying Tradewinds’ construction start.
To resolve this financing conundrum a hui was formed with Rockland Capital Energy Investors of Houston and GMO Renewable Resources of Boston. The joint venture hui takes advantage of Tradewinds’ business strengths—a deeply experienced management team, incredible growth rates of eucalyptus trees and the skills, commitment and work ethic of workers on the Hamakua coast.
Tradewinds Forest Products will work with Hawaii Community College in Hilo and the State’s Workforce Development Division to create a program to benefit the local workforce.
Tradewinds is the first major Hamakua Coast employer since the demise of the sugar industry. It is envisioned that the Hamakua Coast will again be a Smart Growth community where residents can work at good jobs close to where they live.
Tradewinds Forest Products, LLC is developing a state-of-the-art veneer mill on the Big Island’s Hamakua coast. The mill will convert eucalyptus logs into high-value visual grade, strength grade and commodity grade veneer using an environmentally sustainable process.
Tradewinds is positioned to become the only industrial scale high-value log processor on the island.
Adequate timber sources on the island of Hawaii from Kamehameha Schools lands and from the State’s DLNR forests at Waiakea will allow Tradewinds to sustainably supply two shifts of production.
When the trees currently growing have been utilized, a second crop of trees will be ready for use.
— Find out more: