New owner seeks to further legacy of mill

By Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Chronicle-Journal

The former Resolute Forest Products paper mill in Thunder Bay has been acquired by Atlas Holdings and has undergone a name change to Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper Inc.

The mill, which has been a leader in the pulp and paper industry in Ontario for more than a century, is renowned for producing some of Canada’s top northern bleached softwood kraft and hardwood kraft pulp, paper and newsprint.

Atlas Holdings announced the closing of the acquisition of the pulp, newsprint and directory paper mill operations in Thunder Bay and welcomed its team to the Atlas family of companies.

In a statement to The Chronicle-Journal, Daniel Merriam, principal at Atlas Holdings, says Atlas is looking forward to building upon the mill’s heritage as a trusted employer in the region and a reliable industry player.

“Atlas has successfully partnered with experienced leadership teams to acquire, strengthen and operate many pulp and paper businesses since our founding more than two decades ago, including several in Canada, and we are excited by the opportunity to bring our team’s experience to further the legacy of this mill as Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper,” Merriam said.

Atlas also announced appointments for the operation at the mill.

Kent Ramsay, who has been the mill’s general manager since 2019, has been named president of Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper. Randy Nebel, a paper and packaging industry executive, has been appointed chairman of the Thunder Bay Pulp and Paper board of directors.

David Marshall, director of sustainability and public affairs for Resolute Forest Products, says the sale was a requirement of the consent agreement that was entered into between Domtar and the Canadian Commissioner of Competition.

“For Resolute, it means continuing to operate our sawmills and woodlands operations in Northwestern Ontario,” Marshall said.

Despite the sale of the pulp and paper mill, he says Resolute still has several facilities in Ontario that they will continue to run.

“We’re very excited about that,” he said. “The wood products facilities are consistent with their strategic plan of continuing to expand their lumber and wood products market. So, all in all, this is a win-win situation.”

Seth Kursman, Resolute’s vice-president of communications, sustainability and government affairs, says they are pleased that they can still operate their woodlands and sawmills.

“We have a wood supply agreement with the mill and we will continue to enjoy a commercial relationship and I certainly look forward to keeping a personal relationship with a number of the folks that I’ve interacted with over the years at Thunder Bay,” he said. “They’re absolutely first-class people. We have woodland operations in the Northwestern region and then we’ve got one of the largest sawmills in Eastern Canada right there at Fort William First Nation. We have two other sawmills, one in Atikokan and one in Ignace.”

Atlas Holdings was founded in 2022 and operates out of its headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut. Together with its affiliates, Atlas owns and operates 26 companies, employing almost 50,000 associates at more than 300 facilities worldwide, generating approximately $16 billion in revenues annually.