ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, U.S. — Bunge North America, the North American operating arm of Bunge Limited, announced on Oct. 12 that it plans to more than double the capacity of its canola processing plant in Altona, Manitoba, Canada, part of a multiyear expansion program across its four Western Canada processing plants.

"Canada remains a very important region to Bunge's growth strategy because of the increasing global demand for canola oil and meal and the growth potential of canola seed production in Canada," said Soren Schroder, president and chief executive officer of Bunge North America. "We are committed to expanding our presence in Canada and this project will improve efficiencies along a fully integrated chain from farmers, to food and feed manufacturers."

The proposed project would take Altona's capacity from 1,100 tonnes a day to 2,500 tonnes a day. Bunge would also add a new deodorizer to fully process the oil.

"Canola is an attractive crop to the Canadian farmer and both acreage and yields will increase especially around Altona making it a logical first place to expand our Canadian operations," said Rick Watson, Bunge's country manager in Canada. "From Altona, we can serve most of Bunge's oil packaging plants and major food manufacturers as well as efficiently transport meal to key dairy states in the upper Midwest."

In addition to Altona, Bunge has processing plants in Nipawin, Saskatchewan; Hamilton, Ontario; Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta; and Harrowby, Manitoba, Canada.

Provided the plan receives all necessary approvals, the expansion is expected to go on line in time for harvest in 2012.