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A U.S. extraction company and an Alberta firm have formed a joint venture that will extract cannabinoids from hemp to be sold as bulk ingredients.

Pittsburgh-based Thar Process, Inc. and Calgary-based Fifty First Parallel said they formed Thar Extracts Alberta, with the U.S. company’s ownership at 60 per cent and the latter at 40 per cent of its roughly $15-million value. Both companies are privately held.

Thar Process has been extracting ingredients from natural food products such as algae and rosemary for 29 years, and the JV, which has applied to Health Canada for a standard processing licence, will be a toll processor of hemp-derived cannabinoid ingredients.

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Thar Extracts Alberta will rent 70 per cent of Fifty First’s 100,000-square-foot facility in Lethbridge, Alta., for hemp storage and cannabinoid extraction with plans to be operational by September 2020, in time for next year’s 2020 hemp harvest in Canada.

The JV will have daily input capacity of four tonnes to five tonnes, and will use carbon dioxide to extract oil from hemp flower and then further purify it to remediate specific cannabinoids that will in turn be sold as ingredients. Thar Process’s technology refines the hemp oil and has successfully separated at least eight individual cannabinoids.

The JV is expected to employ 50 to 60 people by the end of 2020. It plans to receive Good Manufacturing Practices certification as per U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards, as well as organic certification.

“There’s no one else in Canada today that processes the amount at scale required for hemp,” said Jason Kujath, president of Fifty First.

“We see their industrial scale capabilities as the most efficient way to extract cannabinoid-based ingredients at scale.”

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