Cargill plans major canola crusher in central Alta.

U.S. agrifood giant Cargill plans to build a second Canadian canola crushing and processing plant in central Alberta in time for the 2014 harvest.

Cargill brass were at Camrose, Alta. on Monday to launch work on an 850,000-tonne-per-year crush plant just south of the community, about 80 km southeast of Edmonton.

"The facility will have the capacity to process both conventional and specialty canola seed, which will enable us to significantly increase our contracting programs in the area," Ken Stone, Cargill’s commercial manager for Canadian canola processing, said in a release.

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A spokesperson for Cargill, which already runs the largest canola crushing plant in Canada at Clavet, Sask., said the company expects to source canola within a 300-km radius of the new facility.

Cargill’s fellow processing giants Bunge and ADM operate crush plants respectively at Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., about 100 km north, and at Lloydminster, Alta., about 225 km east.

"Canola continues to be a very competitive crop for the Canadian grower and Camrose is an excellent location for value-added canola processing," Mark Stonacek, president of Cargill’s North American grain and oilseed business, said in the company’s release.

In 2012-13, he said, canola acres in Canada were over 21 million, indicating the canola industry "will continue to grow, driven by competitive access to a large North American livestock industry for canola protein meal and continued strong demand for canola oil."

Cargill’s other facilities at Camrose include the animal nutrition plant it built there in 1982, a Cargill AgHorizons grain elevator on the north side of town and an office for the company’s specialty canola program.

The company expects the move will position "Cargill, the Camrose area and the Alberta farmer for future growth in the canola business," he said.

The Alberta Canola Producers Commission noted in a separate release Monday that the planned Camrose plant would be the first new crusher to be built in the province in over three decades.

"While other Alberta canola facilities have re-tooled and expanded, all new plants have been constructed in eastern Saskatchewan," the ACPC said.

Central Alberta, meanwhile, "is a large canola growing area and Camrose has good rail and highway connections to the rest of Alberta," ACPC director Jack Moser, who farms nearby at Killam, Alta., said in the same release.

"It gives all Alberta growers another marketing option for our canola right here at home."

By capacity comparison, Cargill’s Clavet crush plant can process about 1.5 million tonnes of canola per year. The proposed scale of the Camrose plant is about on par with the Yorkton, Sask. facility run by LDM Foods, a joint venture of Louis Dreyfus and Mitsui.

Cargill also announced last month it will add a canola oil refinery operation at the Clavet plant.

Related story:
Cargill plans refinery for Sask. canola plant, Sept. 14, 2012

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