Crofton paper mill to be indefinitely curtailed

Crofton mill curtailed

Paper Excellence is shutting down its paper mill in Crofton for an indefinite period, citing poor markets in China and escalating costs.

When it shuts down in December, it will be the second Paper Excellence paper mill to shut down in one year and the third in two years.

Last year, in December 2021, Paper Excellence announced that a temporary curtailment of its paper mill in Powell River would become indefinite. And the year prior, it shut down its paper mill in Mackenzie.

The company plans to cease paper production in Crofton early December, but will continue its pulp operations there.

The curtailment of the Crofton paper mill will affect 110 unionized workers, 80 of whom are with Unifor and 70 with PPWC.

“We recognize the hardship this will have on both our employees and the Cowichan Valley,” the company said in a news release. “We hope to minimize these impacts through union discussions that will consider secondments, utilization of earned time off and employment insurance.”

Paper Excellence cited weak markets in China for the curtailment, as well as rising input costs.

“Paper markets in China served by the mill have significantly weakened while there have been substantial cost escalations for chemicals, energy and wood fibre used at Crofton,” the company said. “The intersection of these pressures has materially impacted the financial viability of the paper operation.”

The company said it is working with both provincial and federal governments while it studies the possibility of accelerating a conversion from print paper to food and packaging grades.

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