Abitibi’s timberland sale earns CEP condemnation (January 02, 2006)
January 2, 2006 By Pulp & Paper Canada
Abitibi’s decision to sell off its privately-owned timberlands near Thunder Bay, ON, has provoked a condemnation f…
Abitibi’s decision to sell off its privately-owned timberlands near Thunder Bay, ON, has provoked a condemnation from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union, who has launched a national campaign to halt mill closures.
Saying the sale should raise serious ‘alarm bells,’ the union is calling on the government, Abitibi and Wagner to ensure the fibre coming from the sold lands remains within Canadian borders.
“These lands may be privately held but they are still a natural resource vital to the economic well-being of the region, and, more specifically, to the continued operation of the Abitibi mill in Thunder Bay where 200 workers are employed,” said Cecil Makowski, the union’s Ontario region vice president.
“At the very least, Natural Resources Minister David Ramsay and the Federal Government should demand a commitment from Abitibi and the new ownersthat this fibre will stay in Canada and create employment here,” he added.
Despite Abitibi’s effort to sell its Fort William mill along with the timberlands, U.S.-based Wagner bought only the land. The future of the facility is now hanging in the lurch. According to the Montreal Gazette, Wagner president Tom Colgan has confirmed the company will be selling fibre products to local users, including the Abitibi Fort William mill.
“We are pretty much continuing what Abitibi had been doingharvesting wood and selling wood to the local users,” the Gazette reported Colgan as saying.
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