Bunge to double crush capacity at Alta. plant

Agrifood giant Bunge is planning for expansions at its canola crushing plant at Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., to “more than double” its capacity.

The project, which would boost the plant’s current crush capacity of 850 tonnes per day, is part of the U.S. firm’s “multiyear expansion program” in Canada, on top of a similar expansion announced last year for its crush plant at Altona, Man.

The expansions at the Fort Saskatchewan plant, about 20 km northeast of Edmonton, are expected to come on line in 2014, the company said Monday.

Soren Schroeder, CEO for Bunge North America, described the expansion as “a natural way to grow Bunge’s North American business as domestic and export demand for both canola oil and meal continues to increase.”

“Farmers around Fort Saskatchewan are responding to increased demand for canola by planting more acres,” Bunge’s Canada country manager, Rick Watson, said in a release.

“Yields are also improving thanks to technology, making this region a logical place to expand.”

The added product from the expansion at Fort Saskatchewan is expected to go to both North American and “offshore” markets, Watson said.

By comparison, most of the oil and meal produced at the expanded Altona plant, about 100 km south of Winnipeg, is expected to be shipped just within North America, he said.

The Fort Saskatchewan and Altona plants were among several Bunge acquired when it took over CanAmera Foods in 2002.

The company also operates oilseed crushers at Nipawin in northeastern Saskatchewan, Harrowby in western Manitoba, and at Hamilton.

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