The Powell River paper mill closes, affecting more than 200 jobs

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More than 200 paper mill workers are out of work, effective immediately, as Paper Excellence announced an indefinite closure of operations at its Catalyst Paper tiskwat mill in Powell River.

Paper Excellence on Wednesday announced the closure of the plant, citing the continuing shrinking global paper markets and paper prices, especially in Asia, as the main reason for creating significant financial losses at the Powell River plant.

“Despite the best efforts of the committed team of factory employees, the installation is simply not viable under the current reality of market conditions,” a Paper Excellence statement said.

However, the company is interested in finding a long-term solution for the site in order to offer employment opportunities and economic activity in Powell River. It is unclear how the mill will be used in the future, but Paper Excellence says it is in talks with the government and investors to try to maximize the facility’s unique access to deep water, natural gas, electricity and electricity supplies. water. , as well as its existing biomass boiler with capacity for power generation, wastewater treatment and solid waste disposal infrastructure.

As a result of the paper mill shutdown, Paper Excellence says a total of 206 employees will be affected by the decision.

“We recognize the extraordinary effort of this committed team of employees who have worked tirelessly since its resumption in May 2021,” the company statement said.

“If possible, the company plans to offer opportunities for relocation or assignment to other Paper Excellence facilities throughout BC where there are currently job offers. The company will also respect and comply with all obligations under the agreements. groups with UNIFOR Local 1 and Local 76. ”

The company says it intends to safeguard the site, along with the facility equipment, after the shutdown. Paper Excellence plans to remove all fiber and chemicals and will perform a general cleaning of the facility to eliminate environmental risks.

Paper Excellence will continue to supply paper customers with production from its other paper mills in Crofton and Port Alberni, emphasizing that it is committed to long-term investments in these locations.

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