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First load leaves LaSalle Lumber Co.

The first truckload of lumber from LaSalle Lumber Co.'s state-of-the-art mill in Urania has been shipped, according to a company press release.

"We're very happy with how the start-up process has gone to date, said LaSalle Lumber Plant Manager Nick Landi said in the release. "With the first shipment of 21,000 board feet of 2-by-6 pine lumber last Thursday (March 7), we believe we are right on track to achieve full operation by the end of this month and we hope to expand to two full shifts by May."

The start-up began in December. The first truckload was sold to Hixson Lumber Sales, which is a supplier of wood products in several states, Landi said.

The mill was built in less than a year. It employs 100 people now and will add an addition 15 people when it achieves its goal of running two 10-hour shifts, four days a week. That will require about 850,000 tons of wood each year to produce some 200 million board feet of lumber, the plant manger said.

​A log fresh off a truck was converted into green lumber ready for the kiln in about 11 minutes during recent test runs, Landi said.

"We've got an optimized log in-feed system that runs at 550 to 600 feet per minute and a trimmer that can handle 140 pieces of lumber per minute. So we should be producing about 500,000 board feet of lumber a day by the end of March and double that beginning in May," he said.

LaSalle Lumber is on about 125 acres of the old Louisiana-Pacific sawmill site. Drax Biomass occupies the other 160 acres of the site, where the sawmill will provide residuals and wood fiber to use in its manufacturing of wood pellets.


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