Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)

Paper Excellence took over Catalyst Paper operations in B.C. in 2018. (Paper Excellence photo)

Paper Excellence shuts Mackenzie pulp mill, investing in Port Alberni, Crofton

Powell River paper production set to resume in May

After a decade reviving the Mackenzie B.C. pulp mill with new investment, Paper Excellence is closing it permanently and putting its investment focus on other B.C. operations with better economic prospects.

The company is making a $13 million capital investment in its Port Alberni mill to produce higher-value paper products, and is “working towards making a significant capital investment in its Crofton facility,” Paper Excellence said in a statement April 15. It is also restarting one of two paper machines at its Powell River mill in early May.

Mackenzie, a small community north of Prince George, has seen a collapse of its forest industry as the Interior pine beetle epidemic wound down and the three sawmills that historically provided wood waste to the pulp mill also went down.

“Since acquiring the Mackenzie mill in 2010, Paper Excellence has invested more than $360 million in the facility,” the company said. “However, despite these investments and the committed team of employees in Mackenzie, the facility’s small production capacity and the ongoing lack of local economic fibre meant the mill could not be globally competitive.”

The company said it is offering to relocate its Mackenzie employees to other facilities. It plans to restart its mill in Prince Albert, Sask., and pay severance under its union contract with UNIFOR local 1092. The Mackenzie operation was originally curtailed in June 2020 due to market demand reduction from COVID-19 and the lack of local fibre supply, with a small crew assigned to care and maintenance.

RELATED: Paper Excellence upgrading Port Alberni paper mill

RELATED: Mackenzie residents rally after three sawmill closures

Paper Excellence has extensive holdings in Canada and Brazil, where it grows and processes eucalyptus pulp. Its B.C. operations include a distribution centre in Surrey and mills at Skookumchuck in the East Kootenay as well as Port Alberni, Crofton, Powell River and Howe Sound, which has operated since 1909.

The company endorses the B.C. government’s plan to shake up the forest licence structure in B.C.

“Paper Excellence looks forward to the B.C. government’s continued focus on competitive mid-term timber supply and modernization of forest policy, while ensuring equitable distribution of access to forest tenures to support the diversity and competitiveness of the sector and the production of high-value products.”

The company’s pulp is used in products from household tissue to office supplies and fibre cement, with sales in 45 countries around the world.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsforestry

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island Gazette file photo of Port Hardy council.
Port Hardy council to send RCMP officer a letter of congratulations

Mayor Dennis Dugas said Corp. Chris Voller ‘obviously earned it and he did a great job up here’

The Scott’s jewelry boxes and whales’ tails pedestal bowls. (Debra Lynn photo)
Port Alice woodworking business flourishes with word-of-mouth promotion

The Scotts have depended on local promotion and word-of-mouth connections to expand their business

Renovations are underway at the Old Schoolhouse as Cafe Guido gets ready to turn it into the Copper & Kelp Market. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Cafe Guido purchases ‘dying’ Old Schoolhouse store to save it from extinction

After purchasing it they decided to give it a new name, coming up with ‘The Copper & Kelp Market’

A wolf was seen in a resident’s backyard in Port Hardy. (Al Dodd photo)
Conservation officers awaiting reports of wolves at the door in Port Hardy

Wildlife officials need more direct concrete information before reacting, as social media buzzes

Gourmet donuts made by Jesus Poem and Athena Guy. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Italian gourmet donuts a hit in the North Island

Poem said the feedback on the gourmet donuts has been fantastic

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

Vivian Hermansen, Snuneymuxw First Nation, initiator of petition e-3281. Photo by Karen Evans.
Status card wait times an example of systemic racism, says Campbell River woman

Snuneymuxw woman launches petition as people waiting up to two years, as passports take three weeks

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Interior Health locks out Kelowna martial arts gym following COVID violations

Actions were taken after all other steps to gain compliance were exhausted, says health authority

A man who allegedly spat at and yelled racial slurs at an Asian family was arrested for hate-motivated assault Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
Arrest made after man spits, yells anti-Asian racial slurs at Victoria mom and kids

The man was arrested for hate-motivated assault near Quadra Elementary School Tuesday

A lady wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canada may find it challenging to reach herd immunity from COVID-19, experts say

Level of immunity among the population changes with the variants, especially the more transmissible strains

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O���Connell photo)
Clash between loggers, activists halts forestry operations over Fairy Creek

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

The courthouse in Nanaimo, B.C. (News Bulletin file)
Island man sentenced in Nanaimo after causing a dog unnecessary pain and suffering

Kiefer Tyson Giroux, 26, of Nanoose Bay, given six-month sentence

Following a one-year pause due to the pandemic, the Snowbirds were back in the skies over the Comox Valley Wednesday (May 5) morning. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Video: Snowbirds hold first training session in Comox Valley in more than 2 years

The team will conduct their training from May 4 to 26 in the area

Most Read