SEDA Chairperson’s Award to the Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s – MLTC Bioenergy Centre

The Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre is an entirely Indigenous-owned state-of-the-art cogeneration facility generating carbon-neutral green power. Plant revenues will also support essential programs and services for the Tribal Council’s nine member First Nations.

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How Indigenous participation in forest management is changing resource development in Canada

The symbiotic relationship between the forestry sector and Indigenous peoples has grown to be recognized as a fundamental part of growth and sustainability for all parties involved.

There has been a concerted shift in the way Indigenous peoples engage in resource development in Canada. Despite a long history of exclusion, there is now recognition of the unique and vital role Indigenous stewardship plays in managing the land, and of forests in particular. Many First Nations and Métis communities hold generations of forestry knowledge, giving them a deep understanding of how forests evolve and how they can be managed in a way that is both environmentally and economically sustainable.

“Indigenous peoples are fundamentally peoples of place,” says Paul Robitaille, senior advisor of Indigenous relations for the Sustainable Forestry Initiative. “Their languages, cultures, laws, governance structures, ways of knowing and being—they are all born from their place in the world. And in many regions, those places are forests. So Indigenous peoples are often a reflection of the forest and the land, and you really can’t separate the two.”

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MLTC Communities & Economic Development 2022

A new Muhlbock continuous kiln is being installed at NorSask Forest Products. Photo courtesy MLTC.

Sustainable drying: NorSask’s new continuous kiln to run off sawmill residuals

In the past few years, Saskatchewan’s forestry and bioenergy industries have seen a big boost, with multiple new investments announced and projects underway. One such project is the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC)’s new Bioenergy Centre in Meadow Lake, Sask., which is currently under construction.

The Bioenergy Centre will use residual wood waste from nearby NorSask Forest Products (also owned by the MLTC), to provide enough electricity to power 5,000 homes in the community. As part of that project, a new Muhlbock six-zone Progressive Flo 1306 PRO continuous kiln is being installed, which will run off of the energy produced in the Bioenergy Centre.

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MLTC BioEnergy Spotlight on Sask Business Minute

Meadow Lake Tribal Council is building a biomass power generation plant at their NorSask sawmill in Meadow Lake. To be completed in January 2022, the plant will convert wood waste into renewable energy and help to create jobs and economic growth for MLTC members and northern Saskatchewan.

Bioenergy centre on schedule

The Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre is 12 months away from being fully functional, and those behind the project couldn’t be more pleased with the progress made on the facility thus far.

“Everything is going well and we’re completely on schedule,” noted Al Balisky, president of Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) Industrial Investments, the company that oversees NorSask Forest Products where the bioenergy centre is being constructed.

The MLTC Bioenergy Centre will generate carbon-neutral green power using sawmill biomass residuals. It will be the first plant of its kind in Saskatchewan and is expected to produce 6.6 megawatts of baseload electricity to power approximately 5,000 homes with greener energy. Shovels hit the ground at the site April 27 and, since then, work has been fast and furious.

On July 13, the thermal oil plant foundation was completed, while Aug. 26 and 27 saw the mobilization of a 330-ton crane completed by Sterling Crane out of Saskatoon. As of Aug. 31, 141 days had gone by with zero injuries and no lost time incidents.

“We are well into September and construction is getting busier and busier as we approach the colder months,” added project coordinator Brandon Hansen. “RobWel Constructors LP, a Clearwater River Dene Nation company, has been awarded contracts for the pre-engineered building for the Turboden ORC electricity generator and a contract to complete the thermal oil plant structural and mechanical installation services, which are both well underway right now. Robwel, with the assistance of Sterling Crane, have mobilized a 330-ton crane in the centre of the construction site that can be seen in the distance from the City of Meadow Lake. The crane is expected to be in full force until the end of 2020.”

Hansen went on to state One Five Construction alongside FDB Gravel have also been very active on the MLTC Bioenergy Centre’s construction throughout the summer months.

“These two companies have been working close together completing the majority of the earthworks, preparation for foundations as well as the required environmental remediation work for the bioenergy facility,” he added. “As for employment, there has been great representation from multiple Indigenous-owned companies and contractors who have helped throughout the project build. As of Aug. 31, 38 per cent of the hours recorded on-site have been fulfilled by self-identified Indigenous employees. As well, 18 per cent of total hours have been fulfilled by female employees and contractors.”

In the meantime, the MLTC Bioenergy Centre has a website updated daily anyone can access to follow along with the current status of the build. The site can be found at The project’s progress can also be tracked on Facebook by following MLTC Bioenergy Centre.

The project is expected to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by more than one million tons over 25 years, and reduce smoke and other harmful matter to significantly improve air quality for residents. Revenues from the plant will also support essential programs and services including child and family services, education, and health and youth development for the nine-member First Nations comprising the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.

The Government of Canada is contributing $52.5 million of the $75 million cost of the total project through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Canada-Saskatchewan Integrated Bilateral Agreement under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“We are all very excited with where things are headed, and quite pleased with the fact everything is on schedule,” Balisky remarked. “We should be nearing completion in about a year’s time and the centre should be fully functional by November or December of 2021.”

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Indigenous community innovation bringing clean-energy to Saskatchewan

Investing in infrastructure that promotes clean energy solutions is key to creating a strong low-carbon economy and sustainable future for Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, on behalf of the Honourable Francois-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Honourable Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan Minister of Trade and Export Development and MLA for Meadow Lake, announced funding for a major green energy project in Meadow Lake.

The First Nations-owned Meadow Lake Tribal Council Bioenergy Centre will generate carbon-neutral green power using sawmill biomass residuals. It will be the first plant of its kind in Saskatchewan and is expected to produce 6.6 megawatts of baseload electricity to power approximately 5,000 homes with greener energy.


Announcing NCQ Funding

MLTC Industrial Investments partners with Northern Career Quest to build First Nation workforce.

MLTC Industrial Investments LP (MLTCII), the management company that oversees the Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s corporate holdings, has secured funding through Northern Career Quest (NCQ) to help develop and train First Nations people for new positions thatare arising within the MLTCII group of companies.

The Northern Career Quest program, which is funded jointly by industry and government partners, has a history of building a strong Aboriginal workforce. The booming provincial economy means that it is more important than ever to engage Aboriginal workers to participate in these benefits by training for high-demand positions.

Over the next two years, Industrial Investments expects to see unprecedented growth at its flagship companies: NorSask Forest Products, Polar Oils and MLTC Northern Trucking. This program will help ensure that First Nation people will have access to training to prepare for these positions. With NorSask working toward a second shift, and Polar Oils and Northern Trucking planning expansions, the NCQ training program will help fill the increased demand for journeymen and apprentice millwrights, mechanics, mill workers and administrative staff.

According to Trevor Reid, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at MLTCII, the program has the company’s full support. “We value a diverse, well-trained workforce. The NCQ program will help us attract and retain employees from the First Nation communities that are the shareholders in our companies”

“This is a win-win-win situation,” says Norma Billette, the Human Resources Advisor at MLTCII who will be recruiting participants for the program. “The funding will provide benefits to our companies, our communities, and most importantly, for the workers themselves.”

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Announcing Launch of MLTC Industrial Investments

MLTC Resource Development LP announces the launching of its newest company: MLTC Industrial Investments LP

There’s a lot of excitement around MLTC Resource Development LP these days. The Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s corporate arm, commonly known as RDI, has built a strong track record for success in Saskatchewan and things are only getting better.

MLTC Resource Development LP (RDI) governs the investment portfolio of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) and its nine bands, striving to provide sustainable long term returns to its shareholder First Nations. The company’s holdings are impressive. With significant ownership of companies like West Wind Aviation, MLTC Ceres Fertilizers, Lac La Ronge Wild Rice, and Western First Nations Hospitality as well as its wholly-owned subsidiaries NorSask Forest Products, MLTC Northern Trucking and Polar Oils, RDI has become a major contributor to the Saskatchewan economy.

In 2013, RDI launched a new company, MLTC Industrial Investments LP (MLTCII). This company was created to achieve higher returns and dividends by streamlining operations and decision making at NorSask Forest Products, Polar Oils and MLTC Northern Trucking. These three companies have been the backbone for MLTC’s resource development agenda and the synergies among them have helped leverage their strengths to successfully transition to the bio-energy sector. Industrial Investments is working towards the construction of a 36MW bio-energy power plant fuelled mainly by logging debris and wood waste from the NorSask mill. With development work nearing completion and a 25-year power purchase agreement signed with SaskPower, MLTCII expects to begin construction on the plant this fall.

MLTC Industrial Investments has its head office in Meadow Lake and a satellite office in Saskatoon. MLTC II’s strong management team and experienced professional Board of Directors are accountable to MLTC Resource Development LP, which remains the governing body for all of the Meadow Lake Tribal Council’s corporate ventures.

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