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Pellet Plants & Timberlands Changing Hands

July 30, 2014
Author: LeAndra Spicer
Pellets & Chips

Alter Energy Group AG has signed a letter of intent to acquire an idled pellet plant in Laurinburg, North Carolina by early August. CEO Edward Klaeger stated operations will begin as early as October. AEG plans to increase capacity from approximately 121,000 tons per year to 275,000-309,000 ton per year by the spring and summer of 2015. Nature’s Earth Products owned the idled pellet facility prior to its 2012 acquisition by GreenWorld Development.

The Georgia Biomass pellet plant in Waycross, Georgia is also up for sale. RWE Innogy plans to sell the plant in accordance with a strategy that no longer includes biomass as part of its core business. Operating at a capacity of approximately 750,000 tons per year, Georgia Biomass is the largest operating pellet plant in the United States.

Elsewhere in Georgia, E-Pellets has acquired a shuttered OSB mill in Athens. The company plans to convert the former Louisiana-Pacific mill into a pellet facility with an annually capacity near 500,000 tons. E-Pellets will export pellets through the port facility in Savannah. E-Pellets also owns the former Sega Biofuels pellet plant in Nahunta.

Drax Biomass has announced plans to relocate its US headquarters from Burlington, Massachusetts to Atlanta-suburb Sandy Springs, which is closer to its existing pellet manufacturing facilities in Gloster, Mississippi and Bastrop, Louisiana.

On the heels of various reports citing Drax (through Pike BioEnergy LLC) may build its third US wood pellet plant in Magnolia, Mississippi, comes news that the company may also develop a project in South Carolina. Abbeville County has passed an ordinance that would allow Drax Biomass to purchase a 119-acre tract of land for the development of a new pellet plant. The site is near the western boarder of South Carolina and approximately three miles from the town of Calhoun Falls.

Zilkha Biomass Energy plans to build a third Black Pellet plant in Monticello, Arkansas. Construction on the $90 million project is expected to be complete by the fall of 2016. Zilkha began operations in Crockett, Texas and its second facility in Selma, Alabama - at the site of the former Dixie Pellets plant - is under construction.

In Louisiana, the Natchitoches Parish Port Commission’s Board of Directors has approved a notice of intent to lease 75 acres to Biomass Secure Power Inc. BSPI plans to build a pellet plant with an annual capacity of just over 1.1 million tons at the site. The initial lease term will be 30 years with an optional 15-year extension, and the port commission will receive lease payments of $12,500 per month. BPSI will receive benefits estimated at $26.3 million from Louisiana Economic Development. Jim Carroll, president and CEO of BSPI, announced the company plans to break ground later this year, and full production is slated for the first quarter of 2016. The $137 million project is expected to create approximately 90 direct and 500 indirect jobs.

Georgia-Pacific has completed the acquisition of a Bernice, Louisiana chip mill from Hunt Forest Products.  Georgia-Pacific’s senior vice president of sourcing Mike Adams noted the acquisition is part of a “long-term investment that expands our access to wood and fiber supply in the region."


Plum Creek has sold nearly 50,000 acres in Wisconsin’s Wood and Adams counties to Atlanta-based TIMO Timberland Investment Resources. Plum Creek still owns an estimated 11,000 acres in Wisconsin.

Another Atlanta-based company, CatchMark Timber Trust has announced it intends to acquire from an unnamed seller(s) 55,671 acres of timberland in Middle and South Georgia for just over $1,900 per acre. A small portion of the lands (approximately 5%) to be acquired are in North Florida. The two transactions—Oglethorpe and Satilla River—should close during the third quarter. The deal is valued at $106 million and, if completed, will add 2.5 million tons to CatchMark's timber inventory.


Jonathan Davis


Thanks for a good up-to-date industry overview!

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