Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Paper machine being idled

Resolute Forest Products Inc. today announced an extended period of market-related outage for paper machine #5 (PM5) at its mill here.
The specific length of this outage has not been determined at this time.

PM5 has an annual production capacity of roughly 97,000 metric tons of groundwood specialty printing papers—grades most commonly used in books, magazines, and advertising circulars.
The markets for these grades have deteriorated and are expected to stay soft at least through the first quarter of 2014.
Due to these challenging market conditions, this outage is expected to last at least through the first quarter of this year.
Plans call for production to cease Jan. 31.
The period of continued production will allow for the drawing down of wood and chemical inventories.
Any chemical inventories that remain will be removed, and either transported to other Resolute locations or disposed of in an environmentally-responsible way.
The company will work to ensure production is curtailed in a safe, orderly, and environmentally-sound manner.
“Resolute will ensure the site and equipment are placed in an asset protection mode in order to preserve the equipment for future use,” said president and CEO Richard Garneau.
“The company is actively pursuing efforts to reposition the Fort Frances assets,” he added.
“We are exploring alternative product possibilities, particularly related to the pulp mill.”
About 150 employees will be impacted by today’s announcement. A notice to affected employees was to be sent today.
At this time, the company does not intend to provide notice to salaried employees, stationary engineers, and certain maintenance employees.
Likewise, woodlands employees will not be provided notice.
Going forward, the company will evaluate its staffing requirements based on the duration of the outage.
Resolute regrets the impact this decision will have on employees and the community, and it will work with affected employees, all levels of government, and other local authorities on programs to lessen the impact of this outage.
Affected employees also will be considered for job vacancies and opportunities at other company facilities for the duration of this outage or on a permanent basis, as appropriate.
A number of Resolute employment opportunities will be created in Northwestern Ontario related to three important investment initiatives currently underway:
•the construction of a new sawmill in Atikokan;
•the upgrade and restart of the idled Ignace sawmill; and
•the lumber production capacity increase and building of a wood pellet plant at its Thunder Bay sawmill.
The company’s investments in new sawmill capacity in the region will not impact future fiber allocation to its Fort Frances operation.
As Resolute works to reposition the Fort Frances mill, it is critical the company retains access to an adequate fiber supply to allow for a future restart of the operation.

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