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A list of pulp and paper mills that have adjusted capacity during COVID-19 [UPDATED]

August 2, 2020  By Kristina Urquhart

Photo: Annex Business Media

Several pulp and paper producers across the country have made capacity adjustments in response to the impact of COVID-19.

The mills have cited a variety of reasons for the curtailments, including declining demand in some segments, such as newsprint and specialty paper, sawmill downtime and reduced workforce availability due to COVID-19 safety precautions.

Here’s a list of the capacity adjustments, curtailments and shutdowns announced so far [last updated August 2, 2020]:


Canfor Pulp

The Canfor Pulp Products mill in Northwood, British Columbia announced on Mar. 27 that it would be pausing production for three weeks and postponing its spring maintenance shutdown until after the curtailment.

On May 20, the company announced it will curtail production at its Prince George Pulp and Paper and Intercontinental Pulp mills for approximately four weeks starting July 6, 2020. Canfor says the move is in response to B.C.’s fibre shortage and the COVID-19 crisis.

Planned maintenance outages for the fall remain on the docket at Northwood, for work on one of its recovery boilers, and at the company’s Taylor BCTMP mill.

Cariboo Pulp & Paper

Mercer International and West Fraser’s joint venture in Quesnel, British Columbia reopened the week of May 24 after going down for about a month, resulting in the reduction of 15,000 tonnes of NBSK per mill.

The cogeneration facility at the Cariboo mill continued operating during the shutdown.

Kruger Specialty Papers

On Apr. 3, Kruger’s Brompton, Quebec newsprint, specialty papers and biomass facility shut down indefinitely, laying off 272 workers.

Mercer Celgar

Mercer International has announced that its Celgar mill in Castlegar, British Columbia will take a month of downtime in July, citing COVID-19 related sawmill curtailments and stumpage fees.

In addition to regularly planned maintenance downtime of five days, Mercer Celgar will undergo approximately 30 days of additional downtime (aggregate 52,000 ADMTs).

Paper Excellence Canada

On June 11, Paper Excellence Canada announced it is indefinitely closing its pulp mill in Mackenzie, British Columbia on June 30, affecting 253 jobs.

The company cited COVID-19, fibre shortages in B.C. and the closure of area sawmills as a reason for the curtailment.

On Apr. 15, the company announced that paper operations at the company’s Powell River and Crofton, British Columbia mills are shut down until at least mid-summer. As of Aug.2, the Powell River operations remain offline, and Crofton is back online with one machine running.

The Port Alberni mill will continue production with enhanced health and safety protocols as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Rayonier Advanced Materials – Kapuskasing

The company curtailed production at its newsprint plant in Kapuskasing, Ontario for at least two weeks starting the week of Mar. 26.

Six of the company’s softwood sawmills across Ontario and Quebec have also halted or reduced production for at least two weeks.

Resolute Forest Products

While the company planned to scale up pulp and tissue production in response to market demand, it is scaling back capacity in its paper and wood products segments. The company’s Baie-Comeau and Alma mills in Quebec, which both produce newsprint, have taken indefinite downtime.

In early May, Resolute temporarily laid off 1,000 workers, mostly in Quebec in its newsprint, specialized pulp, wood products and head office divisions.

For up-to-date information on sawmill and lumber curtailments, visit our sister publication Canadian Forest Industries.

This article was originally published on April 17, 2020.

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