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National Forest Week kicks off


September 22, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

September 21-28 marks National Forest Week, and according to BC’s forest and range minister Pat Bell, there are rea…

September 21-28 marks National Forest Week, and according to BC’s forest and range minister Pat Bell, there are reasons to celebrate.

“Solid wood and pulp are still going to be key components of the forest sectors as we move forward in the 21st century,” Bell said.

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In a report by Opinion250 News, Minister Bell identified the following top ten signs the forestry industry is improving. “Despite the challenges we are facing in the industry right now I believe there are signals that we are seeing early signs of a recovery,” he said.

1. The sale of the Pope & Talbot sawmill in Fort St James to the new company “Conifex.” The executive of this company has significant experience in the forest industry and has plans to re-open the mill this fall. Further, they are looking for other potential purchases in the Interior.

2. Interfor is investing $100 million in a complete rebuild of their Adams Lake sawmill. They have a clear vision for the future and plan to be a major player in the Interior as well as the coast. In addition, Interfor has recently re-opened their sawmill in Grand Forks on a trial basis.

3. The Canadian dollar has moderated and held in the $.93 range for a few weeks now. Analysts see some recovery this fall to the 98-cent range followed by a weakening early in the year to 90-cent range or even less. Low dollars help our industry as we typically sell in American currency.

4. This year for the first time we will sell about one billion board feet (BBF) of lumber into China. This compares to under .5 BBF in 2007 and just .2 BBF in 2006.

5. We are out competing the rest of Canada in the US market. In 2000 we had just 45.8% of the lumber coming from Canada into the US. Since 2005 we have held a minimum 56.8% share of Canadian lumber into the US and this year we are currently holding 58.2% (as of the end of June).

6. The Kyahwood finger joint plant in Moricetown recently reopened on two shifts employing about 70 people.

7. The potential purchase of the Pope & Talbot pulp mill in Mackenzie by Worthington Properties and their expressed intent to reopen the mill even without a chip supply agreement.

8. The purchase of the Harmac pulp mill in Nanaimo; 287 employees have put their own money on the line to re-open this mill.

9. Pinnacle Pellet recently built a brand new pellet plant near Dunkley lumber. This plant will help improve the utilization of fibre from our area and keep our mills competitive.

10. Japan’s housing starts jumped 19% over the same month one year ago to 97,212 units, the first such increase in 13 months. This figure must be qualified because in July 2007 new home starts plunged by 23% (the biggest July drop in 14 years) after new building standards were imposed.

As in recent months, wood framed unit construction shot up significantly, by 21% from one year ago to 45,335, which accounted for 47% of total July starts. July building permits were also up, by 55% from one year ago, and 5.5% from June.


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