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Meadow Lake Tribal Council joins Paper Excellence’s call for more rail cars


March 7, 2022
By P&PC Staff

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Photo: Paper Excellence

Paper Excellence has called on CN to provide more rail cars for its Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp mill. The Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) has joined this endeavour as well.

“MLTC has been a long-term business partner of the Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp mill since 1989. Our business partnership with the Meadow Lake pulp mill provides sustained employment and financial benefits, resulting in increased opportunity, well-being, and overall prosperity for our First Nation membership. We encourage CN to immediately provide better rail service for Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp Mill. Any negative business impact to our long-term partner can translate into negative impacts on employment opportunities affecting our communities and overall business sustainability,” said MLTC Tribal Chief Richard Ben.

The pulp mill depends on CN to transport its products to ports. For months now, CN has failed to provide adequate transport for transferring the products. Consequently, Meadow Lake mill has exhausted all local storage facilities and has been forced to slow down production. The mill has not operated at full capacity since December. Paper Excellence had to announce the slowdown on February 11.

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According to a statement released by Paper Excellence, CN is currently providing less than 40 percent of requested rail cars. Recently, the mill has had to participate in CN’s auction process that offers the few cars available for higher prices.

“700 local jobs are dependent on the local supply chain for this mill, and many of those jobs are held by members of local Indigenous communities,” said Graham Kissack, vice-president of environment, health and safety and corporate communications. “Our partnerships with Indigenous businesses in and around the Meadow Lake community has been a success story we are proud of. However, the profitability of the mill and its forestry providers hinges on running at full capacity and getting our product to market. This can only happen if CN provides proper rail service.”

Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp employs 190 people and contributes over $1 million daily to Canada’s economy. The mill is also an equal partner in Mistik Management that holds the provincial Forest Management Agreement for the area. Mistik is an equal partnership between Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp and NorSask Forest Products, which is owned by the Meadow Lake Tribal Council.