Viterra buys Richardson elevator in Sask.

Canada’s biggest grain handler plans to expand capacity at the eastern Saskatchewan town of Foam Lake by buying it from the No. 2 handler.

Viterra announced Friday it will buy Richardson Pioneer’s elevator at Foam Lake, about 90 km northwest of Yorkton, for an undisclosed sum.

Regina-based Viterra, which already owns a facility with 9,500 tonnes of storage capacity at Foam Lake, said the deal with Winnipeg’s Richardson will boost Viterra’s total storage capacity to over 14,000 tonnes and allow it to load up to 56 rail cars.

Viterra’s announcement Friday follows Thursday’s grand opening of a canola crushing and biodiesel processing facility at Foam Lake, owned and operated by local firm Milligan Bio-Tech.

Viterra on Friday also announced capacity expansions at its high-throughput terminal at Carnduff, about 90 km east of Estevan in the far southeastern corner of Saskatchewan.

The company said it will build another 7,000 tonnes of storage capacity at Carnduff, for a total of 33,000 tonnes, and will double the facility’s railcar capacity to 112 cars from 56.

Work at Carnduff is expected to start this fall and to be complete in the fall of 2010.

“These infrastructure investments are the latest in a series of improvements aimed at increasing our level of customer service and driving further efficiencies in our grain handling system,” Bob Miller, Viterra’s senior vice-president for grain for North America, said in the company’s release Friday.

Viterra’s other recent expansions in the province’s southeast have included a similar doubling of railcar capacity at its facility at Grenfell, about 100 km south of Yorkton.

Richardson’s recent investments in the region, meanwhile, include its $100 million canola crushing facility at Yorkton, scheduled for completion in the second half of 2010.

It also announced in May that it would expand its fertilizer storage capacity at Whitewood, about 110 km south of Yorkton, to 4,800 tonnes from about 800.

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