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Stops, Starts, Changes (September 01, 2009)


September 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

AbitibiBowater idled indefinitely paper machines #4 and #5 at its Thunder Bay, Ont., mill, beginning Aug. 21. The decision puts 360 employees out of work, according to reports in a local newspaper, Th…

AbitibiBowater idled indefinitely paper machines #4 and #5 at its Thunder Bay, Ont., mill, beginning Aug. 21. The decision puts 360 employees out of work, according to reports in a local newspaper, The Chronicle Journal. Jean-Phillipe Cote, the company’s director of public affairs and government relations, attributes the closure to erosion of the newsprint market and high operating costs.

As a result of the paper machine shutdown, the Woodland mill will also decrease fibre production.

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According to The Chronicle Journal, Cote said AbitibiBowater is working with the unions on labour cost issues and with the Ontario government to address fibre and input costs in the hope that the company can restart PM5.

Catalyst Paper will restart one line of pulp production at its Crofton NBSK kraft mill on Vancouver Island, citing improved market conditions. The kraft pulp mill was indefinitely curtailed in February of this year -removing approximately 400,000 tonnes of annual capacity.

“Pulp markets have improved in recent weeks with stronger demand and pricing,” says Richard Garneau, president and CEO. “Better markets enable the restart on one of the two lines of our kraft mill. But chip supply is limited and fibre availability is expected to remain challenging through the balance of this year.”

The restart is scheduled for early October and will result in 104 employees being recalled from layoff. Restart on the one line will add 210,000 tonnes of pulp capacity on an annualized basis.

Kruger Inc. temporarily cut back production at its Quebec paper mills in August and September, by interrupting production for periods of one to three weeks. The company says the intent is to rebalance its order book in light of a significant drop in demand for various paper grades and unfavourable economic conditions, particularly the high value of the Canadian dollar against the US currency.

The curtailment at its Brompton mill in Sherbrooke, Que. was extended by two weeks. Newsprint production was interrupted August 15 and was scheduled to resume on Sept. 22.

At the Trois-Rivires mill, coated and supercalendered paper production was to be interrupted from August 26 to September 16, affecting some 450 employees. Newsprint production was interrupted from September 1 to 13, 2009.

At the Wayagamack mill (also in Trois-Rivires) directory paper production was to be interrupted from August 31 to September 8, affecting some 80 employees. Coated paper production continued during this period.

With these actions, Kruger cut its total production by 26,500 tonnes of newsprint, 7,500 tonnes of coated paper, 4,500 tonnes of supercalendered paper and 2,000 tonnes of directory paper.

A second production line has been started at the Harmac pulp mill owned by Nanaimo Forest Products. The line will bring the mill’s output to almost 30,000 tonnes of northern bleached softwood kraft pulp per month.


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