Mistik’s Operations section of the Woodlands is tasked with extracting the forest fibre resource for its two parent companies (NorSask and Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp) and getting it delivered to their production facilities. Mistik staff completes this task by utilizing a strong work force comprised mainly from the area in and around the City of Meadow Lake. Most of the contractors that Mistik uses hire their staff from surrounding communities such as Leoville, Buffalo Narrows, Pierceland, Waterhen Lake, Beauval, Big River, Canoe Lake, Goodsoil, etc.
The Operations section has many parts to it and can be understood by breaking it down as follows:
- Block and Road Layout – most of the block perimeter and road center line is marked with flagging tape. The use of handheld GPS technology greatly assists forestry staff with completing this task.
- Felling – this is the process of cutting the tree down. This mainly used to happen with chainsaws but now is almost 100% done with a feller buncher.
- Skidding – this is the process of moving the felled tree from the stump to the location near the road where it will be piled; this is now mostly done with a grapple skidder.
- Processing – this is the process of turning the tree into a log. Each mill has dimensions that they have to have their log resources altered to in order to be able to use it in their facility. There are two primary equipment types that can do this – a delimber and a processer. The tree has to have defects, limbs, and tops removed, and then it is cut to the required lengths.
- Road Building – roads of various classes have to be built in order to haul the logs to the mills. The three primary pieces of equipment used for this are a dozer, an excavator, and a grader.
- Water Course Crossings – sometimes Mistik has to cross watercourses of varying sizes with roads. Mistik uses several methods to do this including using culverts, bridges, brush matts, ice bridges, etc. All water course crossings have to be part of the Annual Aquatic Habitat Protection Permit (AHPP) that the Fisheries Branch of the Ministry of Environment issues.
- Hauling – Mistik has to move the logs from the harvest area (e.g. cutblocks) to the mills. Mistik does this with the use of two types of equipment – log loaders and log haul trucks (semi).
- Road Reclamation – in most cases after the logs have been removed from the harvest areas (e.g. cutblocks) and brought to the mill, the road that was created to do this is no longer needed and can be turned back into being part of the productive forest land base. The two primary types of equipment used to do this are a dozer and an excavator.
- Slash Abatement – tree debris is created during the processing stage when the trees are processed at road side. Depending on the type of tree species this debris will either be spread in the cut over, piled and burned, or used in the road reclamation process.
- Scaling – all logs that are delivered to the mills must be tracked. When a log haul truck brings a load of logs into one of the mills it has to be weighed both loaded and unloaded (empty). This gives Mistik the net weight of the load in metric tonnes. Periodic loads are flagged to be used as sample loads that will be individually scaled in the mill log yard in order to get a conversion number to convert the tonnes to cubic meters (mass to volume). This is a very important process that is required because almost all the contractors are paid on one of these units of measure, along with the monies (e.g. provincial dues and fees) that have to be paid for all logs to the province of Saskatchewan or other parties such as private landowners.
Throughout Operations, Forest Services Branch personnel from the Ministry of Environment monitor Mistik’s activities.