Fort William mill idled

Abitibi-Consolidated announced today that its Fort William paper mill in Thunder Bay will be idled for an indefinite period, effective Feb. 25.
The mill has an annual production capacity of about 145,000 tonnes of commercial printing papers.
The idling will affect roughly 265 employees at the mill and an additional 88 employees associated with the woodlands operations.
“In spite of the efforts of our people to identify and implement opportunities for cost reductions, current market conditions, combined with high production costs, have led to this difficult but necessary action,” said Alain Grandmont, Senior Vice-President, Commercial Printing Papers.
“We regret the impact of today’s announcement on our employees, their families, and the community,” he added.
The Fort William mill has experienced frequent market-related shutdowns over the past six months. It was on the company’s in-depth review list in 2005 and a subsequent effort was made to sell the facility.
The Fort William employees, union representatives, and local community leaders were informed of the decision today.
“We will continue to monitor the market to determine when or if production can resume at the mill,” said Grandmont.