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Pulp operations restarting at the Catalyst Crofton mill, but not paper production

Curtailment extended another month for paper operations
Kraft operations will be starting up again at the Paper Excellence Crofton pulp mill, but not paper production. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Paper Excellence Canada has announced pulp operations at its Catalyst Crofton mill will be restarting, bringing more than 300 employees back to work. But paper operations will remain curtailed until the end of October.

“In spite of challenges posed by exceptionally low pulp and paper prices driven by global market fluctuations, we are pleased to announce that we are resuming pulp production and reinstating a portion of our workforce at our Crofton mill,” Krista Cuddy, Catalyst Crofton’s interim director of operations and integration, stated in a media release.

“While this is a positive development, we will continue to assess the ongoing viability of maintaining kraft pulp operations at Crofton to ensure it is cost effective to operate and consistent with our overall business strategies.”

The release added Paper Excellence Canada is continuing to work with both the Public and Private Workers of Canada and Unifor unions to support its valued workforce as pulp production restarts and to mitigate the impact of the ongoing paper production curtailment.

Improved market conditions are seen as being instrumental in the restart on the pulp side, but paper operations will be reevaluated in another month.

Tanner McQuarrie, president of Unifor Local 1132, was not happy with the latter part of the announcement that affects the union’s membership at the mill.

“Very disappointing, as our orders have been sent to different sites,” he commented in a statement. “As a young union leader who was still hopeful of a positive future at our site, I am losing hope. With opportunities for severance and bridge to retirement program being rewarded at the end of the month, I am doubtful there will be enough papermakers left to keep the place running. The worst part is still no clarity.”

Geoff Dawe, president of PPWC Local 2, couldn’t be reached for comment by presstime.

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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