Installing the chains on sawmill infeed.

Indie mill doubles capacity with £22.5m investment

Published:  02 June, 2009

SCOTLAND: James Jones & Sons, one of the largest independent sawmillers, announced that the construction of its new …

£22.5m sawmill, at Lockerbie, is at an advanced stage.

Designed to complement and enhance existing on-site infrastructure and wood processing capabilities, the new 'super-site' establishes Lockerbie as one of the UK's largest timber processing areas.

When production begins in autumn 2009, the Lockerbie 3 area will have a single shift capacity of 150Km2 sawn – more than doubling the capacity of James Jones's existing sawmill in Dumfries which it will replace.

Output from Lockerbie 3 will primarily focus upon carcassing timbers, although it will also incorporate added flexibility to offer a range of specifications for the construction, fencing, pallet and packaging markets, which complement the company's existing product portfolio.

Lockerbie 3 will also deliver improvements in quality, yield and production speeds, using three-dimensional laser technology to scan each log and calculate optimal cutting patterns.

Ian Pirie, joint managing director of the company, said: "The site is one of the most advanced in Europe, and gives us great flexibility in meeting our customers' future needs.

"This sizeable investment represents James Jones' commitment to British sawmilling and timber processing, while further enhancing our product portfolio as a group overall.

"This is the largest single development project the company has undertaken to-date and has progressed very smoothly."

He added that the progress reflected the long term partnerships the company has built up with all its contractors and suppliers.

"We are confident of opening on schedule in the autumn, with production due to start around 1 October."

Site investment, upon completion of the new sawmill, will total approximately £40m. The entire Lockerbie complex will employ 90 people working on two high speed saw lines, and a secondary processing line.

When fully operational the site's total annual roundwood requirement, sourced from both private growers and the Forestry Commission, will exceed 500 000m3/year.

James Jones & Sons operates six sawmills across Scotland at Mosstodloch, Kinnoir, Aboyne, Kirriemuir, Lockerbie and Dumfries, and is the only UK-owned manufacturer of engineered I-Joists and JJI-Joists.

A subsidiary company, Unit Pallets, it is also one of the largest producers of this type of product in the UK, operating from its site in Golborne, near Warrington. The JJS group employs 490 people in the UK and had sales in 2007 of £89m.

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