Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Canada's Conifex Timber Brings Modernization to Arkansas Sawmill

June 6, 2017

Conifex Timber Inc. is investing $80 million to re-start and re-tool what will be a state-of-the-art sawmill facility in El Dorado, Arkansas. The timber harvesting and sawmilling company, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, will bring approximately 120 new, full-time jobs to the surrounding area, and have a significant impact on the state’s economy. This will be the company’s first facility in the southern United States. 

The planned expansion into Arkansas will give Conifex access to important lumber and timber markets in the U.S., as well as the sustainable timber resources they will need for long-term success.  The new location will also provide an important source of revenue diversification and reduce cash-flow volatility in the company's lumber segment according to the company.  The El Dorado Mill is situated in the Arkansas “wood basket,” which will give the company access to high quality sawlogs and a skilled timber workforce.

The restored sawmill, formerly owned by Georgia-Pacific, will primarily manufacture structural grade Spruce Pine Fir dimension lumber. The company plans on the mill producing 180 million board feet initially, and sawtimber purchases are expected to amount to 700,000 tons per year, or $30 million, from suppliers within a radius of about 60 miles.

Established in 2008, Conifex Timber began operations in British Columbia with a focus on forestry sawmilling and power generation. In addition to the company’s investment in the El Dorado sawmill, it has invested approximately $80 million in two Canadian sawmill complexes and related businesses, as well as $100 million in its green power generation business, creating over 500 jobs. 

Conifex’s primary business currently includes timber harvesting, reforestation, forest management, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value-added lumber finishing and distribution. The company’s lumber products are sold in the United States, Chinese, Canadian and Japanese markets. Its operations have expanded to include bioenergy production following the commencement of commercial operations of its power generation facility at Mackenzie, B.C. 

Conifex Timber Inc. joins an impressive list of timber and paper products companies opening facilities in Arkansas, including China’s Sun Paper, Kimberly-Clark and Georgia-Pacific. Since January 2015, 29 forest products companies have signed incentive agreements, resulting in proposed investments of $2 billion and the creation of 214 jobs for the state.