The Lethbridge plant currently processes approximately 450,000 tonnes of canola annually. With the upgrades, the facility will be able to process in excess of 2,000 tonnes of canola per day, increasing annual crush capacity to more than 700,000 tonnes, the company said. Combined with its canola processing plant in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, Canada, Richardson will have the capacity to process more than 1.7 million tonnes of canola per year.
“We are continuing ongoing capital upgrades in Lethbridge to increase crush capacity and realize greater efficiencies,” said Darwin Sobkow, executive vice-president of agribusiness and processing operations at Richardson. “This will allow us to better serve our customers and create a state-of-the-art facility that is very efficient for its size, positioning us to compete with the most modern canola crushing facilities in North America.”
Richardson began initial upgrades to the Lethbridge plant in 2015, adding new processing equipment. A modern, high throughput seed receiving facility now is being built to increase efficiency and provide quick turnaround for farmers and truckers delivering seed to the plant, the company said.
“Increasing the speed of the receiving plant is a top priority for us to better serve our customers, providing them with the ability to deliver their seed quickly and efficiently,” Sobkow said. “We are committed to making a significant investment in our Lethbridge plant for long-term operations to continue to grow our business.”The new high-speed receiving system will be able to receive 800 tonnes of canola per hour, a significant increase from the current system, and will be ready for harvest deliveries in the fall of 2017, according to Richardson. Sobkow said the upgrades will be completed with “minimal to no disruptions” to ensure the Lethbridge facility continues to serve both farm customers and end-use buyers.