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Stops, Starts, Changes (October 01, 2009)


October 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

WestFraserTimberCo. Ltd. will permanently close its Eurocan integrated pulp and paper mill in Kitimat, B.C. as of January 31, 2010, putting more than 500 people out of work. The company says the 40-ye…

WestFraserTimberCo. Ltd. will permanently close its Eurocan integrated pulp and paper mill in Kitimat, B.C. as of January 31, 2010, putting more than 500 people out of work. The company says the 40-year-old mill, which produces linerboard and kraft paper, has historically struggled with high costs and negative returns. A contributing factor to the mill’s problems in recent years has been sawmill curtailments in the region, which have reduced the supply of lower-cost residual wood chips to Eurocan and increased the mill’s reliance on more expensive whole log chips.

“We deeply regret the impact the mill closure will have on our 535 employees, their families and the community, and we will ensure those who are affected are treated with fairness and respect,” said Hank Ketcham, West Fraser’s chairman, president and CEO.

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The Eurocan site operates a kraft pulp mill, chemi-mechan- ical pulp mill, and two paper machines.

Fraser Papers Inc. has been granted a further extension of creditor protection under the Companies’ Creditors Arrange- ment Act (Canada) through to December 4, 2009.

Kruger has reversed its decision to shut down all coated paper production at its Trois-Rivires mill, announcing in early October that it will keep one of the two production lines in operation.

After announcing last July that it would halt all coated paper production on October 30, Kruger now says one produc- tion line will remain in operation as long as market conditions are favourable, therefore preserving 120 jobs. The company says it was able to implement a more efficient production method and credits efforts made by the mill’s employees to reduce production costs.

Annual coated paper production will be reduced from 130,000 tonnes to 75,000 tonnes. The other production line, as well as the debarking and groundwood pulp plants, were shut down indefinitely on October 13. Approximately 280 employees were to be laid off gradually in order to facilitate the shut down.

AbitibiBowater indefinitely idled paper machines at several Canadian and U.S. mills as part of its restructuring efforts and to adjust to falling demand for newsprint and printing papers, effective Oct. 31.

The company has shut down operations at its Beaupre, Que., mill which produces digital printing paper. The move leaves 340 workers unemployed.

AbitibiBowater also idled paper machine 4 at the Clermont, Que., mill, and cut newsprint production by half at the Bowater Mersey mill in Brooklyn, N.S. PM 4 is one of two newsprint machines at the Clermont facility. Its shutdown put 120 employees out of work.

In Fort Frances, Ont., a paper machine producing com- mercial printing paper was shut down, putting 75 workers out of work. The Fort Frances facility also produces NBSK pulp.


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