Study concludes region could support mass timber manufacturing

A recent study examined the economic feasibility of introducing mass timber manufacturing to the state of Minnesota and/or Minnesota’s Arrowhead region. Specifically, the study examined cross-laminated timber (CLT) which is a wood panel system that has gained popularity after being widely adopted in Europe. The study concluded:

The growth of multi-family construction and the trend towards sustainable building materials have positively impacted the demand for CLT in the United States.
Lumber mills and wholesalers in the Great Lakes region produce and distribute more than enough lumber in the grades and dimensions suitable for CLT manufacturing and have the ability to increase production and distribution volumes as the market demands.
Significant economic impacts could result from a new CLT firm locating in the region. Building a mid-sized manufacturing facility in northeastern Minnesota could bring 50 new (direct) jobs, $11.7 million in industry sales, and 45 new (indirect) jobs.
“Minnesota has incredible potential to grow our secondary wood products sector to include mass timber manufacturing,” said Tamara Lowney, president of Itasca Economic Development Corporation. “This study answered the key question, 'is there access to lumber that meets the specifications required by mass timber?' with a solid yes. We are fortunate to have that supply in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Canada.”

The study was conducted by the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) and the Center of Economic Development (CED) at the University of Minnesota, Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics. Supporting partners included APEX, Blandin Foundation, Minnesota Power an ALLETE Company, Great River Energy, Itasca Economic Development Corporation and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation.