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West Fraser defers maintenance shutdown at BC pulp mill in response to COVID-19

March 20, 2020  By P&PC Staff

West Fraser has announced some production changes at its pulp and paper and lumber mills in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The scheduled maintenance shut for the company’s jointly owned Cariboo Pulp and Paper mill in Quesnel, British Columbia has been deferred.

Absences due to COVID-19 policy are increasing at some of the company’s other pulp mills and it is possible that curtailment of operations at these mills may be necessary due to key technical resources not being available.


“West Fraser has implemented changes to mitigate potential exposure at our worksites, with a focus on thorough cleaning, strict travel limitations, health education and appropriate social and physical distancing at all company sites,” the company says in a statement.

Effective March 23, lumber production will be reduced at western Canada sawmills by approximately 18 per cent or 12 million board feet per week and lumber production at the company’s U.S. South sawmills will be reduced by approximately 24 per cent or 15 million board feet per week.

These reductions will be implemented through various means including reduced operating hours, elimination of overtime, elimination of shifts and curtailment of operations. Shipping will be maintained as needed to fulfill order commitments. These temporary reductions are expected to stay in place until at least April 6.

Effective March 23, plywood production will be temporarily suspended at the company’s Quesnel plywood facility until at least April 6. This will reduce the company’s plywood production by 5,000 msf per week.

The company says it plans to reduce capital spending for 2020 by $75 million through the delay and deferral of projects that had not yet been started.

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