Groupe Lebel to Make Major Investment in Green Energy in Cacouna
Cacouna, April 4, 2022 - Groupe Lebel announced today that it will continue its investment program by building a brand-new wood pellet plant on the Cacouna site it has occupied since 2002. The sustainability of its forest and wood processing operations are crucial to the mission of this family business, founded over 65 years ago in the Lower St. Lawrence region of Quebec.
“The plant will help us optimize our growth plan,” explained Louis-Frédéric Lebel, Groupe Lebel president and CEO, “as it will give us an outlet for unsold by-products and processed wood affected by the spruce budworm. Further, Cacouna was a highly strategic choice of location for the future plant since it’s close to the Port of Gros-Cacouna and our primary processing activities.”
Groupe Lebel would like to acknowledge the financial contribution of nearly $15 million from key partners for this $40 million project. The Quebec Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation granted the company a $12 million loan. The Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles du Québec contributed $1.75 million, which includes monies from Environment and Climate Change Canada. Finally, the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs is contributing $1 million via its Innovation Bois program.
Pierre-Olivier Morency, director of Lebel Énergie, added that “the long-term market outlook in Europe is very good, especially for coal substitution. This is an environmentally sound project that both strengthens our sawmill operations and fights climate change.”
The first phase of the plant’s operations will begin in 2023 with an annual capacity of nearly 100,000 metric tons of wood pellets. Groupe Lebel aims to ship the majority of its production to growing international markets.
Frédéric Lebel added, “We are very pleased to have entrusted the process engineering and project execution to Prodesa. This international player in the construction of wood pellet production plants builds turnkey facilities in Europe, Asia and North America. Prodesa provides us with extensive expertise in process and performance guarantees.”
Groupe Lebel also wishes to thank local partners who, through their professionalism and dedication, are already contributing to this large-scale project.
Anne Dupéré, CEO of the Société portuaire du Bas-Saint-Laurent et de la Gaspésie, noted, “This project is in keeping with the strategic orientations for the port, laid out by the Société portuaire du Bas-Saint-Laurent et de la Gaspésie and approved by the Ministère des Transports du Québec. The Corporation is pleased to support Groupe Lebel’s expansion project, which will have major benefits for the Lower St. Lawrence and Gaspé regions.”
With this investment, Groupe Lebel expects to create two dozen jobs in Cacouna and to help maintain forestry jobs in the region. Groupe Lebel also wants workers to know that the company is ready to welcome and train them.
Groupe Lebel’s founder purchased the company’s first plant in Squatec in 1956. Since then, the family business has added an array of sawmills and processing plants for treated wood and value-added products. Proud of its 65 years in business, Groupe Lebel is continuing to grow and now has over 1,200 employees in its 19 sawmills, value-added product plants and head office. As a leading forestry producer in Eastern Canada, Groupe Lebel provides ongoing support in the 18 communities in Quebec, Ontario and Maine where it has plants.