NewPage Port Hawkesbury closed indefinitely
August 23, 2011 By Pulp & Paper Canada
NewPage Corp. will take downtime of undetermined duration on both paper machines at its Port Hawkesbury mill in Nova Scotia, in response to market and economic conditions. The downtime will begin September 10 for the mill’s PM1 newsprint…
NewPage Corp. will take downtime of undetermined duration on both paper machines at its Port Hawkesbury mill in Nova Scotia, in response to market and economic conditions. The downtime will begin September 10 for the mill’s PM1 newsprint machine and September 16 for the PM2 supercalendered machine. About 600 direct employees will be laid off, but spokesperson Patricia Dietz told the Cape Breton Post that the machinery will be maintained so that it would be ready for restart. “It’s an indefinite shutdown but it would be ready for restart at any time, that’s the good news part of it.”
The company said it will provide future updates on the mill based on an ongoing review of the situation.
The decision was based on a combination of factors, including unfavorable exchange rates between the U.S. and Canadian dollars and high utility and shipping costs, which have rendered its Port Hawkesbury mill operations unprofitable for more than a year, according to NewPage.
“Despite the continued dedication and efforts of our team at Port Hawkesbury to drive cost improvements, extremely challenging economic conditions at this location have forced us to make this difficult, but necessary business decision,” said George Martin, president and CEO for NewPage.
According to Mark Lukacs, senior vice president, operations for NewPage, “We have a very dedicated and talented workforce and this downtime is in no way a reflection on them.”
NewPage expects to fulfill certain pre-existing orders for its supercalendered papers from its mill in Duluth, Minnesota, but does not produce newsprint from any other mill location and therefore will be unable to serve these customers during the downtime.
There was no information on how the shutdown would affect the construction of a biomass power generation facility being built at the site. The biomass power plant was to be owned by Nova Scotia Power and operated by NewPage Port Hawkesbury.
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