WARDEN, WASHINGTON, U.S. — Pacific Coast Canola, a subsidiary of Legumex Walker Inc., on Sept. 21 broke ground in Warden, Washington, U.S., to mark the start of construction of a new canola oilseed processing plant. At the ceremony, Pacific Coast Canola officials estimated that the new plant could create annual demand for as much as $200 million in new canola seed purchases.

“We’re thrilled and proud to be a part of Warden,” said Joel Horn, Pacific Coast Canola president and chief executive officer. “We believe this plant will drive economic activity through the jobs it creates and through the opportunity local producers have to provide canola seed to our plant. Some very simple math tells us the size of that opportunity could be as much as $200 million a year. We hope to be buying a lot of that seed from our neighbors right here in Washington.”

Horn explained that the Warden plant has a designed operating capacity of 1,100 tonnes of canola seed every day. That translates into better than 2.4 million pounds of canola seed a day or about 837 million pounds a year.

“We think this is a great opportunity for local producers to add canola to their crop rotations,” said Kevin Raymond, vice-president and general manager of Pacific Coast Canola. “It makes agronomic sense and we think it makes great economic sense as well. Growers have already had positive experiences growing canola here and we think that our crusher will make canola an even more attractive crop. There’s the potential to outperform some of the traditional canola growing areas in North America and we’re eager to work with local producers to make the most of this opportunity.”

The plant, which is expected to be completed and operational in late 2012 or early 2013, will be the 10th processing facility operated by Legumex Walker. The Warden facility will be the company’s first in the U.S. and will produce expeller-pressed canola oil and high-quality canola meal.

The plant will be the first commercial-scale canola crushing operation west of the Rocky Mountains and is well positioned to supply the expanding demand for canola products on the west coast of the U.S. Warden is in the heart of a multi-state region that is ideal for canola production and well-served by rail and surface transportation routes.

The Warden plant will be constructed by Industrial Construction Group of Portland, Oregon, U.S. Total cost of the plant is expected be approximately $109 million. The plant has a design output capacity of 142,500 tonnes of canola oil and 227,000 tonnes of canola meal per year. Pacific Coast Canola is 85% owned by Legumex Walker and 15% by Glencore Grain Investment LLC.