Oak Valley Hardwoods, which bought the Stanley plant last year, is making progress towards starting production.
“We have been working on the boiler, but hit a snag while digging a pit for the conveyer system,” said Herbert Nanney, president of Oak Valley Hardwoods. Local contractors were at the Oak Valley site on Tuesday to prepare estimates for clearing the large granite rocks and other debris slowing construction.
The conveyer will carry sawdust and other wood waste to the boiler to be used as fuel. The boiler will create steam that will generate heat to dry wood, according to Lex Rainey, plant manager.
When the boiler is in place and operational the plant will be able to dry green wood.
“We will have to hire five people just to take in green wood, said Rainey, “and we will hire two more when the boilers are online and after production starts we will hire 10-15 more people to run the dry chain,” he continued.
While no timeframe was given, Oak Valley officials hope to hire up to 25 workers in the coming weeks and months. Oak Valley Hardwoods hopes to eventually expand operations into Graham County and create 114 new jobs. The company plans to invest more than $10.1 million over the next five years in Robbinsville.
In order for Oak Valley to receive the $500,000 in North Carolina Infrastructure Grants, which was recently approved, the plant must employ 100 workers.
The project was made possible in part by a performance-based grant from the One North Carolina Fund of up to $156,000.