McCain Foods will invest $600 million in its Coaldale facility, doubling the size of its southern Alberta plant and creating 260 jobs.
The funds mark the largest global investment in the company’s history.
“The development in Alberta marks our largest global investment in our 65-year history, totalling $600 million, while underscoring our commitment to the future of agriculture and innovation in Canada,” said chief executive officer Max Koeune.
“This will fuel continued growth for the business, allowing us to serve key markets further by bringing customers high quality potatoes that begin with our dedicated local farming community.”
Alberta Agriculture Minister Nate Horner said the announcement is “Great news for our rural economy!”
Alberta Conservative MP Dane Lloyd said the announcement would benefit Alberta potato farmers, many of whom are located in his riding.
Once construction is completed, the popular fries manufacturer will employ 485 hourly and salaried employees.
Coaldale, located near Lethbridge, has a population of 8,215 people and has hosted the plant since 2000.
Over the past five years, McCain spent $157-millon expanding its two facilities in New Brunswick, $100-million building its first plant in Brazil, $200-million to expand in Idaho and $300-million building out a facility in Washington State.
The majority of French fries produced in Coaldale will be sold in North America, though a small amount of future production will be exported to Asian and Latin American markets.
McCain also says the new facility will advance its goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions across its global operations in half by the end of the decade.
The expansion will include wind turbines and solar panels, providing 100% renewable electricity to the Coaldale site. Renewable biogas generated at the wastewater treatment facility will be maximized and transported to the steam boilers to offset natural gas demands. To further build on sustainability efforts, a water recycling system will be implemented to produce clean potable water to be used in the manufacturing process.