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Catalyst closure in Elk Falls


July 15, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Catalyst Paper is permanently closing its pulp mill near Campbell River, resulting in the lay-off of half its Elk F…

Catalyst Paper is permanently closing its pulp mill near Campbell River, resulting in the lay-off of half its Elk Falls workforce. According to a report by the Times Colonist, a total of 440 people will be put out of work by the end of November, when the facility will be decomissioned.

The report confirmed that a lack of sawdust precipitated the decision. The closure of the TimberWest sawmill, which supplied the Catalyst facility with sawdust recently closed, compounded by the weakening housing market in the US translate to less lumber, and less resulting sawdust.

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“We didn’t see a way for the kraft and containerboard operation to be profitable,” the Times Colonist reported Brian Johnston, Catalyst’s vice president of operations for specialty papers and pulp as saying. “IT has lost money consistently over the last several years. People here have done a terrific job in getting costs down but we continue to lose money. The sawdust going away just makes it completely untenable.”

“Jobs can’t be sustained on the basis of an unprofitable pulp operation,” Richard Garneau, Catalyst president and chief executive officer added.

Catalyst’s northern bleached softwood kraft long-fibre pulp business in Crofton, uses wood chips as opposed to sawdust, and is therefore not impacted by the closures.


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