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  • By Lynda Kiernan-Stone, Global AgInvesting Media

Richardson Invests $120M to Expand Alberta Canola Plant

Richardson International announced it is investing $120 million to modernize and significantly increase the capacity at its canola crushing plant in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.

The project is aiming to increase the facility’s daily crushing capacity by 2,000 tons, bringing the current annual capacity of 450,000 tons up to more than 700,000. Once completed, the upgrades will give the company a combined crush capacity with its Yorkton, Saskatchewan plant of over 1.7 million tons of canola per year.

Ever since acquiring the Lethbridge plant from Canbra Foods in 1999, Richardson has been active in investing in upgrades at the facility, Richardson's Director of Corporate Communications, Tracy Shelton told Lethbridge News Now.

"We want to keep Lethbridge on the same pace as Yorkton, in terms of being able to increase our processing, and now that we've continued to invest bits and pieces in Lethbridge, we've made a solid capital investment to really modernize it and increase crush capacity."

The current project, which is aiming to create the ‘most modern’ canola facility in North America, began approximately a year ago when Richardson installed new processing equipment at the site, and today, the company is continuing with the addition of a new, modern, high throughput seed receiving facility that will have the ability to receive 800 tons of canola seed per hour and will be ready to receive harvest deliveries in the fall of 2017.

"Increasing the speed of the receiving plant is a top priority for us to better serve our customers, providing them with the ability to deliver their seed quickly and efficiently," said Darwin Sobkow, Executive Vice-President, Agribusiness & Processing Operations.

Richardson strengthen its standing in the North American edible oil space in 2013 with the acquisition of Viterra grain assets from Glencore worth more than $800 million.

Through the deal Richardson acquired 19 elevators, 13 crop input centers, a terminal in Thunder Bay, and Viterra’s milling business including oat processing plants in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba, Martensville, Saskatchewan and Barrhead, Alberta, as well as an oat processing plant in South Sioux City, Nebraska and a wheat mill in Dawn, Texas.

More recently, in June of last year, Richardson acquired Margarine Golden Gate – Micha Inc., giving the company broader access to markets in eastern Canada.

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