Red Leaf Pulp Ltd. has chosen Regina as the location of Canada’s first non-wood pulp mill. The facility will turn wheat straw into compostable cellulose pulp for use in packaging, tissue and other paper products.
To be located on the west side of the city, the $350 million project will provide 250 jobs during the construction phase with 110 full-time jobs (and another 450+ indirect jobs) once the facility begins operation. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2022 with production beginning in mid-2023.
“Red Leaf is an excellent example of combining opportunity with sustainability, and we’re excited to welcome them to the Regina region,” Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said. “More than ever, Regina has what the world needs, and we look forward to working with Red Leaf to seeing this project to fruition.”
Red Leaf’s process uses less energy and less water than traditional pulp manufacturing, while creating a new use for a raw material that has traditionally been considered waste. The fibre produced can be used as a biodegradable alternative to polystyrene packaging as well as other paper products. Byproducts of the process include a nutrient-rich organic liquid that can be used as fertilizer and, potentially, low carbon-intensity biofuels.
Red Leaf cited several of Regina’s natural assets as key factors in their location decision, including proximity to feedstock (in this case, a high concentration of wheat productions), world class transportation infrastructure and skilled labour.
“Red Leaf is very pleased to be working with the local community and its growers in creating low carbon biomaterials from waste wheat and durum straw. We believe that this represents significant value creation for the local farming community and will provide additional income streams from existing crops,” Red Leaf CEO Martin Pudlas said. “There will also be several opportunities for supporting businesses, including establishing the feedstock supply chain, plant maintenance services and infrastructure development.”
“We appreciate the tremendous assistance and key role that Economic Development Regina has provided in advancing our project,” Pudlas added
Economic Development Regina CEO John Lee said Red Leaf’s announcement is part of a larger trend of companies taking advantage of what Regina has to offer. Regina’s Economic Growth Plan envisions a city that is competitive, vibrant, inclusive and welcoming, sustainable, and collaborative. Growing the region’s agriculture and food sector is key to realizing that vision.
“Regina is quickly becoming the epicentre of a sustainable, value-added agriculture economy,” said Lee. “We’re proud to have worked closely with Red Leaf throughout this process and we’re excited to welcome them to the region. Red Leaf’s announcement means new jobs for Regina citizens and new opportunities for Regina businesses.”
Regina’s agriculture and food sector has seen a massive influx of investment in 2021. For context, the Province of Manitoba’s 2019 Protein Strategy states a goal of $1.5B in investments with 1,550 new jobs by 2025. In the past six weeks, the Regina region has seen announcements of $1.5B in investments, 1,500 construction jobs and 250 permanent full-time jobs.
In the coming months, Red Leaf will hold public consultations to provide more information about the facility, including the exact location.
About Red Leaf Pulp Ltd.
Red Leaf Pulp is developing the first non-wood pulp mill in Canada, producing a unique unbleached product demanded by the USD$350 Billion paper and packaging market. Red Leaf was established in 2019 by Darby Kreitz, the founder of Allnorth Consultants, a 500-person engineering firm with offices across Canada and in Atlanta, GA. Allnorth has significant experience in the design and commissioning of non-wood pulp mills in the United States and Europe, in addition to 25+ years providing engineering services to the conventional wood pulp and paper industry.