Paper Excellence permanently shuts down Mackenzie, BC pulp mill at cost of 250 jobs

Paper Excellence permanently shuts down Mackenzie, BC pulp mill at cost of 250 jobs

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Mackenzie residents gathered in August 2019 to protest the grim state of the region’s forestry industry. (Nicole Oud / CBC)

Paper Excellence has announced the official closure of its pulp mill in Mackenzie, British Columbia, permanently laying about 250 employees out of work.

The company initially cut production at the plant in June 2020.

Mayor Joan Atkinson said the closure was not a big surprise to many of the community’s 3,700 residents. She said that for some pulp mill workers, the announcement brings closure.

“They are not left in limbo wondering if they will ever get their jobs back,” she said.

Atkinson said she confirmed with Paper Excellence that former employees will receive severance pay.

Mackenzie, British Columbia, is approximately 180 kilometers north of Prince George. (Andrew Kurjata / CBC)

Lack of fiber

Paper Excellence blamed COVID-19 and a lack of local fiber supply for their initial shutdown in 2020.

In a statement announcing the final closure, the company said: “The [pulp mill’s] the low production capacity and the persistent lack of economical fibers meant that the plant could not be competitive on a global scale. ”

Atkinson said Paper Excellence received wood chips and lint from Canfor’s nearby sawmill. However, Canfor’s plant operations were curtailed for almost two years.

“The breakdown of the chip deal between these two companies has put Paper Excellence in dire straits,” Atkinson said.

Paper Excellence said it is developing a long-term remediation plan for the pulp mill site and is looking for ways to possibly reuse the facility in the future.

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