By: Tom Kain
In July 2021, Huber Engineered Woods (HEW) announced that the building location of its sixth Orientated Stand Board mill will be in Cohasset, Minnesota. Minnesota has 6+ million acres of FSC certified timberland, and its Forest Management certificate holders are poised to provide a sustainable source of fiber to HEW. In January of this year HEW submitted a revised Environmental Assessment Worksheet to the City of Cohasset; construction is expected to begin in 2022, with a projected plant opening in 2024.
The projected $440 million mill represents a very large investment in a region that had seen a 5% forest products industry decline in 2021. Scott Dane of Associated Contract Loggers and Truckers of Minnesota calls the project “the biggest development in the forest products industry in 40 years.” Local leaders have been helping to move the project forward: the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) voted to provide a $15 million forgivable loan for the project, and an additional $20 million is expected from the state. The mill is expected to consume approximately 1 million tons of wood per year.
Global consumer and business research shows growing demand for sustainably grown and produced wood products. As a member of the Huber Family of companies, the “Huber Principles” drive HEW to be a good corporate citizen and a good steward of the environment, wherever the company operates. The Huber Triple Bottom Line philosophy contemplates People, Planet & Profit impacts in all critical Huber business decisions; given the three pillars of FSC certification (social, environmental, and economic), FSC forest management and chain-of-custody certification goes hand in hand with the Huber philosophy.
FSC forest management certificate holders are increasingly attracting demand from businesses seeking to ideally manage environmental, social, and financial impacts of forest products sourcing. Through its abundant presence of FSC FM certificate holders, Minnesota’s newest forest product mill is sure to have dependable sources of responsibly sourced fiber for years to come.