Pine Bluff Plant
Our facility in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, delivered its first train of pellets in April 2017. This plant has been upgraded in 2020 to produce 675,000 metric tonnes of wood pellets per year for export to the European market. The facility supports around 94 full-time jobs to the local community and around 338 direct jobs in the transport and forest industries supply chain. The direct annual economic benefit of our Pine Bluff facility is estimated at $166 million per year. The plant is fitted with Best Available Technology for minimizing our carbon footprint and ensuring we are fully compliant with strict Air Permit and Environmental Regulations.
Highland owns a 300-acre site near Stephens in Arkansas where it intends to build a pellet plant of similar size to its existing Pine Bluff plant. The site has been cleared and a full Geotech report has been completed. All permits are in progress. The site is located in an excellent fiber basket and conveniently located adjacent to mainline rail for delivery of pellets to any of several South coast ports for export. Once completed, the site will employ 92 full-time jobs and a further 338 direct jobs in the transport and forest industries supply chain. As with our main Pine Bluff facility, the direct economic benefit to the local economy would be around $166m per year. The off-take for this facility is currently uncontracted and would take 18 months to construct once a buyer for the pellets has been found.
Port of Pine Bluff
Highland owns a riverfront development at the Port of Pine Bluff, just a few miles from our existing facility. Once operational, the facility will produce up to 400,000 tonnes of pellets per year for the export market. Designed to lower production costs, the facility will use low value in-wood chips and mill residuals as its main supply of raw fiber. Finished pellets will be loaded onto barge and sent to the Southern Mississippi river for loading onto Sea vessels for export. There is also rail connected to the site as contingency to any potential disruption to river logistics.
Highland intends to expand in the Southeast to build additional production capacity. We have several sites under consideration, each being located within abundant fiber baskets and adjacent to good logistic routes to the port. All fiber supplied to these sites will be fully sustainable from managed semi-natural forests, with a significant proportion coming from residual waste wood (shavings and woodchips) from local sawmills. Our pellets will be made to high-quality standards with low-ash content to enable use in the heating market, although their high calorific value of around 18 GJ/MT also make our pellets attractive to the industrial market. The finished pellets will be transported by our logistic partners for export to the European and Asian markets.