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Fort Resolution band gets portable sawmill
Funding now being sought to operate new machinery

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Published Friday, May 6, 2011

DENINU KU'E/FORT RESOLUTION - Another attempt is being made at sawmilling in Fort Resolution, although on a much smaller scale than in the past.

NNSL photo/graphic

Deninu Ku'e First Nation in Fort Resolution has purchased this portable sawmill with funding from the territorial government. - photo courtesy of Deninu Ku'e First Nation

Last month, Deninu Ku'e First Nation through its development corporation purchased a small, portable sawmill with funding from the territorial government.

Chief Louis Balsillie said the band obtained $50,000 for the purchase from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

The portable machinery, known by the brand name Wood-Mizer, was purchased new in British Columbia.

"It's neat machinery," Balsillie said, adding it can lift and turn logs. "It cuts the lumber to a 'T' where it just about looks like it's planed."

The chief added the equipment can cut 20-inch logs and about 800 board feet per day.

"To me, that's not much, but it's a start," he said.

DKFN is now seeking funding to actually run the equipment.

"We're thinking of three-sided logs for cottages which could be done, and we're thinking of sidewalks in the community," Balsillie said. "Everybody is talking about sidewalks all the time. Here we have a chance."

Three people would be needed to operate the machinery, which would provide much needed employment in Fort Resolution.

Balsillie is hoping a proposal can be put together with the support of the Hamlet of Fort Resolution and the Fort Resolution Metis Council to put some people to work making sidewalks.

Plus, he has other ideas for the sawmill.

The band currently has a month-long contract with the Department of Transportation to clear cut 7.3 km along the side of the Highway 6 west of Little Buffalo River as part of a chipsealling project for 25 km of the road.

"Out of that, we're salvaging the logs for our mill," Balsillie said. "Right now we've got a crew out there working. We've got about 12 people working slashing."

The logs from along the highway will be cut and stacked in Fort Resolution until funding is obtained to run the new sawmill.

The chief also thinks the portable sawmill can help with the band's initiative to build core boxes for mineral exploration companies to hold mineral samples.

In 2010, the band was given an order by Avalon Ventures to buld 1,200 boxes for its Thor Lake project.

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