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CHEMICALS: NEXFOR PHASES OUT THE USE OF APEs


June 1, 1999
By Pulp & Paper Canada

TORONTO, ON — Nexfor Inc. said it has voluntarily eliminated the use of alkyl phenol ethoxylates, or APEs, at five of six mills it operates in Canada and US. The industry uses APEs as a surfactant. M…

TORONTO, ON — Nexfor Inc. said it has voluntarily eliminated the use of alkyl phenol ethoxylates, or APEs, at five of six mills it operates in Canada and US. The industry uses APEs as a surfactant. Many companies have long been concerned about the chemical’s toxic and biodegradable properties and its effect on the human endocrine system. For example, the federal Department of Health has suggested that pregnant women should avoid exposure to APEs. John Roberts, vice-president of environment, said the company’s initiative was based on a mixture of corporate social responsibility and good business practices: “Based on our understanding of their potential effect, and the low cost with which APEs could be replaced, Nexfor chose to phase out their use ahead of any regulatory requirement.” The company began its review of APEs in April 1997 and purchasing specifications now stipulate APE-free products. The cry to eliminate APEs seems to have gained momentum not only in North America, but in Europe as well. For example, the Oslo-Paris Commission has recommended that APEs be phased out by 2000.

FORESTRY: TIMBERWEST NIXES CLEAR-CUTTING

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VICTORIA, BC — TimberWest Forest Corp. said it will phase out clear-cutting over the next four years and start to use what is called variable retention harvesting. “Since 1992 we have been experimenting with a range of variable retention silviculture techniques, primarily on our private lands,” said Scott Folk, company president and CEO. “The experience gained from these trials and the innovation shown by field personnel assures me that, over time, we can move away from clear-cutting to a silviculture system that better integrates environmental, economic and social values while continuing to ensure the safety of our workforce.”

TimberWest’s announcement follows that of MacMillan Bloedel Ltd., which stated last year it would start implementing variable retention practices. Part of the credit for the changing practices of BC-based forestry companies goes to environmental groups like Greenpeace, which have exerted pressure on forestry companies — mainly by advocating boycotts of BC forest products. “I believe society and the market are telling forest companies in BC to find new and better ways to harvest trees,” Falk said. As part of its goal for sustainable forest management, TimberWest said it is working toward accreditation to ISO 14001 — the internationally recognized environmental management system and the Forest Stewardship Council.

REORGANIZATION: FLETCHER CHALLENGE TALKING TO PARENT

VANCOUVER, BC — Fletcher Challenge Canada Ltd.’s New Zealand parent is looking at ways to reorganize the paper division, including the possibility of the Canadian company buying all of Fletcher Challenge Ltd.’s pulp and paper assets. Fletcher Challenge Ltd. of Auckland, New Zealand, has mills in New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia and South America. Analysts say that the sale would clean up the parent’s balance sheet, laden with debt: $2.8 billion in total, of which $1.7 billion is from the pulp and paper division. Other possibilities include the parent selling its BC mills to another pulp and paper company — like Canfor Corp. –which has indicated interest in owning a minority stake in a larger pulp company; or selling its 51% interest in the Canadian subsidiary, thereby raising about $1 billion.

INVESTMENT: PERKINS TO INSTALL TISSUE MACHINE

CANDIAC, QC — Perkins Papers Ltd. said it plans to install a new tissue machine at its mill in Rockingham, NC. Once installed, the machine — a Voith Crescent Former — will produce 30 000 tons per year of tissue paper, used for bathroom tissue, paper towels and other specialty products. The company noted that final approval for this project is conditional upon it obtaining financial assistance from the Quebec government. The total cost of this project, which includes modifications to the deinking equipment and the addition of a warehouse, is estimated at $25 million (US). The company said the investment will generate about 25 direct and indirect jobs, adding to the 100 employees who work at the Rockingham plant. This project is the final phase of the company’s $120-million capital expenditure program announced in 1997 which, when completed, will boost Perkins’ manufacturing capacity by 31% and its converting capacity by 34%. Start-up is expected in the first half of 2000.


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