Canfor to close Isle Pierre sawmill, curtail Prince George pulp mills

Canfor Corp. said Wednesday it will be closing its Isle Pierre sawmill while cutting production at two of its pulp mills in Prince George.

The company says the Isle Pierre closure will take effect in the third quarter of 2020 after an orderly wind-down of operations. It said the closure is the result of an insufficient supply of economically viable timber following the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, and the global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“Unfortunately, the ongoing economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the urgent need for Canfor to make this difficult decision,” President and CEO Don Kayne said.

“We know today’s announcement will have a significant impact on our employees, contractors, their families and the local communities, which we deeply regret. We will work hard to redeploy as many employees as possible to other opportunities throughout the company.”

Based on the current one-shift operation, Isle Pierre sawmill has an annual production capacity of approximately 120 million board feet.

Meanwhile, Canfor said it would be curtailing production at the Prince George Pulp and Paper and Intercontinental Pulp mills for approximately four weeks starting July 6.

Pulp production will be cut by 38,000 tonnes of market kraft pulp and 12,000 tonnes of kraft paper.   

Kayne said the decision was "due to the major global economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of economically viable fibre in the region."

Email Managing Editor Matt Preprost at editor@ahnfsj.ca.

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