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Mercer Celgar announces 3-week downtime at Castlegar mill due to fibre supply issues

The Castlegar mill has already been operating at reduced production rates for the past two months
Mercer Celgar’s Castlegar plant. Photo courtesy of Mercer Celgar

The Mercer Celgar pulp mill in Castlegar will be curtailing its pulp operations for 21 days due to the “lack of available economic fibre” in the province.

The company says the curtailment scheduled to begin March 7 is temporary and will be immediately followed by a planned three-day maintenance period.

The mill has already been operating at reduced production rates for the past two months.

“The forest industry is experiencing a shortage of economic fibre in British Columbia. The fibre for pulp mills in B.C. is increasingly constrained due to the impacts of economic and regulatory hurdles, the decreasing allowable annual cut, the end of the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, wildfires and reduced sawmill capacity in the province,” said Bill MacPherson, Managing Director, Mercer Celgar.

“Despite our best efforts to remain operational and withstand these challenging times, the current fiber supply situation has made operating costs become uneconomical and leaves us with no choice but to make the difficult decision to curtail our operations, following suit with the majority of pulp pills in the province.”

Mercer Celgar isn’t the only mill having troubles acquiring fibre.

Last week, Canfor Pulp Products announced it was permanently closing the pulp line at its Prince George pulp and paper mill due to a lack of available fibre.

Mercer Celgar employs 427 people and produces approximately 500,000 tonnes of kraft pulp, enough eco-certified green energy to supply the electricity needs of the mill plus an additional 20,000 homes and 250,000 litres of turpentine annually.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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