Women remanufacture lumber
Products sold primarily to U.S. market

by Nancy Gardiner
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 15/97) - Northern women are taking an opportunity to join their male counterparts in the lumber industry.

Ten new employees, mostly women, have been hired to work at a sawmill in Fort Resolution, due to innovative techniques that improve wood yields. The new measures created the new positions with Great Slave Lake Forest Products Ltd.

Over the past winter, the sawmill, which now has 45 employees, produced four million board feet of lumber.

"We're about half done sawmilling it now," says Don Sandercock, adviser to the NWT Development Corporation, which has been involved with the sawmill for the past several years.

The sawmill produces all white spruce, a softwood, for the construction industry, most of it in the form of two-by-fours.

"This year we went into a remanufacturing process. Before the remaining wood -- called slabs -- was burned. But now there's a process to retrieve the slabs and heavily barked wood lengths," says Sandercock.

The wood is delivered to Hay River, then sold to a buyer in B.C., and most of it is shipped to the U.S.

"NWT softwood is exempt from the NAFTA quota," explains Sandercock.

"Four million board feet -- they can do in one day in some plants in the South. We're doing it in four to five months to give people employment."

"We're trying to get a better recovery so we're not throwing away money," says Sandercock.

Now, the company needs to find something to do with the leftover sawdust, he adds.