VANCOUVER - B.C. is moving ahead with plans to build what is expected to be the tallest wood building in North America and possibly the world.
The proposed 10-storey Wood Innovation and Design Centre in Prince George will become a test case for creating a value-added forest products industry around tall wood building construction methods that would differ radically from the way traditional mid-rise and even highrise buildings are constructed.
Jobs Minister Pat Bell said this week that within 30 days, the province will seek qualified firms to design and construct the building out of engineered wood beam products instead of traditional concrete and steel beams. The province has already received 34 expressions of interest.
The wood building would be the tallest in B.C., ``likely North America and possibly the world,'' Bell said.
The plan comes at the same time a new study produced for the Wood Enterprise Coalition by Vancouver architect Michael Green and several others suggests engineered wood skyscrapers of up to 30 storeys can be safely built using this new wood technology.
In an interview, Green said he expects that within five years, buildings between 10 and 20 storeys will be built in B.C. using any one of a number of laminated engineered wood products. But for that to happen, the province needs to change its building code. The code now limits wood buildings to six storeys, but that is based on wood-frame construction methods using studs and wood cladding.
Green's study says laminated wood beams and slabs - which can range up to 1.2 metres (four feet) wide, 18 centimetres (seven inches) thick and 19.5 metres (64 feet) long - have similar properties to concrete and steel and can be used to replace them in many cases. The resulting building would be lighter, comparable in cost and far more environmentally friendly than steel and concrete.
The buildings would be more fire-resistant than wood-frame buildings, meeting the same requirements as concrete and steel buildings.
``There are a lot of people and nations starting to look at these ideas. But right now our report is the first to show how to do it in a predominantly wood way at the scale we are talking about,'' Green said. ``It is an extremely unique moment where Canada is really leading the world in this conversation.''
Green said he was motivated to propose tall wood buildings as a way to tackle climate change. Wood acts as a carbon sink, locking in carbon dioxide as long as it doesn't rot or burn.
``Concrete production is responsible for five to eight per cent of the world's carbon emissions. Steel production eats up four per cent of the world's energy.''
Manufacturing engineered wood products does require some energy, but the carbon footprint is less than other forms of production.
``We have been looking at solutions to make our buildings perform better, and that is important. But we really haven't stepped back and said, `Are we building our buildings with the right material in the first place?' ''
He said the cost of building a 12-storey wood building in Vancouver would be the same as for concrete, at about $283 per square foot. A 20-storey wood tower would cost marginally more than concrete, at $300 per square foot versus $294.
FRASER LAKE - Endako Mine has been issued a Mines Act permit amendment which will increase production, create approximately 160 new jobs and sustain a total of 400 employees in the north, announced Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman.
Endako is a molybdenum mine owned by Thompson Creek Mining Ltd., and Sojitz Corporation. The mine is located 100 km west of Prince George near Fraser Lake. It has been in continuous production since 1965.
The expansion of the mine will amalgamate the three pits. It will also result in a major upgrade to the mine's 42-year-old mill and will create a new facility that will nearly double the current processing capacity to 55,000 tonnes. The expansion's projected capital cost is approximately $600 million.
Mining reserves are sufficient to continue operations until approximately 2028.
The expansion will generate approximately $90 - $100 million annually in economic activity such as direct wages, purchases and taxes.
The Endako expansion has been able to provide an employment opportunity for the 36 displaced mill workers who were negatively affected by the recent fire and explosion which closed the Babine Forest Products mill. The workers will help to start up the new mill, and these jobs may lead to permanent employment.
Mineral exploration and mining is an important economic driver for British Columbia. The production value of this province's mining industry was approximately $8.6 billion in 2011.
Under the BC Jobs Plan, the Province has expanded four mines. The goal is to open eight new and expand a total of nine mines in British Columbia by 2015.
Premier Christy Clark -
"Our government's number-one priority is jobs and keeping our economy growing. I am particularly pleased to see Endako working with the community that was so devastated by the fire at the Babine Mill. My sincere congratulations to those employees and their families who were displaced, but now have a new opportunity and work. This is a great example of neighbours helping neighbours in a time of need."
Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines -
"The expansion of the Endako mine will continue to provide well-paying, stable jobs in this area. The B.C. Government is committed to working with industry to ensure that mining jobs are available in communities across the province. Tax revenues from mines provide much-needed funding for essential infrastructure and social programs that benefit all British Columbians."
Kevin Loughrey, chairman and CEO Thompson Creek Metals -
"Our employees, contractors, and suppliers have performed an outstanding job meeting the many challenges necessary to reach operational and commercial production so quickly. We continue to make significant progress and ramp up production, and we anticipate full production will be achieved in the second quarter of 2012. Once at full production, the Endako mine is expected to increase molybdenum production from approximately 10 million pounds per year to approximately 16 million pounds per year (100 per cent basis)."
John Rustad, MLA Nechako Lakes -
"Endako Mine has been a rock of support for Fraser Lake and the surrounding area as it's one of the longest-operating mines in Canada. I'm very happy to see this will extend the mine's life by another 16 years, and that it will continue to be a cornerstone of the economy in this area of the province."
- Today, B.C.'s mines are profitable, tax revenues are rising and direct mining jobs are increasing.
- To ensure future prosperity, the Province is stepping up its permitting approval processes to ensure industry is in a position to achieve growth, while continuing to maintain high health, safety and environmental standards.
- As well, the Province helps to ensure a profitable mining sector through the provision of variety of industry incentives:
- Mining Exploration Tax Credit provides a 20 per cent refundable tax credit for companies.
- Mining Flow Through Share Tax Credit provides a non-refundable 20 per cent tax credit. This incentive makes the cost of eligible exploration the second-lowest in the country.
- New Mine Allowance provides the equivalent of a 133.3 per cent deduction of capital costs for mines that commence or expand production before Jan. 1, 2016.
- Molybdenum is a type of coal ore which is used in the production of steel, particularly stainless- and construction-grade steel.
Ministry of Energy and Mines