Article by Angela Stelmakowich, Growth Op
Canadian Rockies Hemp Corporation (CRHC) has plans to make the small town of Bruderheim, Alta. into a very big thing when it comes to industrial hemp processing.
With a population of 1,308 in 2016 — having soared to that level from 1,155 just five years earlier — Bruderheim is the home of CRHC, an agribusiness focused on processing hemp at scale for industrial use outputs.
This week, the company announced it had closed $18 million in equity and debt financing led by private equity firm Merida Capital Holdings, which targets the development of the cannabis and hemp industries.
CRHC plans to use the cash injection to complete construction of its Bruderheim biorefinery, notes the company, which reports being capable of processing thousands of acres of hemp for fibre, hurd, dust and CBD products. The thought is the resulting facility could be the biggest in North America, the company reports. Expected to be up and running by summer, company officials estimate the 60,000 sq. ft. processing facility will be able to process as much as 50,000 tons of fibre and 110,000 tons of hurd (woody interior material) annually.
The Bruderheim facility, with a staff of 60 or more, is just the first of several more planned across Western Canada, according to CRHC.
The company already provides processed hemp to manufacturing facilities globally for product outputs that include textiles, pulp and paper, animal bedding, rope and twine, building and insulation materials, composites and automobile components, the statement notes. With customers spanning Canada, the U.S., Italy, Australia, New Zealand and China, the location will fit well with current markets given it is “located to optimize transportation access for global logistics.”
Together, CRHC and its local farming partners leverage 20 million acres of Northern Alberta farmland within a 500-kilometre radius.
And CRHC can’t say enough good things about what Northern Alberta offers when it comes to hemp fibre. It starts with higher yields than southern regions and experienced broadacre farmers and ends with long summer days and the relative lack of humidity.
The company website further claims the area “can commercially produce large quantities of hemp fibre more economically than current global industry leaders.”
With the help of Merida Capital, “we were able to stress test our company model, proactively prevent risks and align with legal regulations, setting us up for success heading into 2021,” Aaron Barr, CEO of CRHC and a certified horticultural specialist, says in the company statement.
“We feel that CRHC is a best-in-class operator which has thoughtfully strategized their approach to provide a sustainable, consistent supply of processed hemp to manufacturing facilities worldwide,” says Mina Mishrikey, a partner at Merida Capital.
“The industrial hemp industry is just being developed in North America, and the opportunity is massive, with demand from various industries across the globe,” Mishrikey adds.
In 2018, U.S.-based Hemp, Inc. cited the resurgence of the hemp industry, especially with regard to the ever-increasing popularity of CBD hemp oil. Pointing to figures from the Brightfield Group, “the CBD market is expected to hit $591 million this year, and it may grow 40 times this size — to US$22 billion by 2022.”