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Paper Excellence announces indefinite curtailment of Crofton paper operations

Government funding has not resulted in keeping that portion of the mill running
Workers from the entire Catalyst Crofton mill gathered at the entrance to the mill in January 2023 to hear about government funding to boost paper operations that hasn’t materialized in keeping that portion of the Catalyst operation running. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Paper Excellence Canada has announced the indefinite curtailment of paper operations at the Catalyst Crofton mill.

The present curtailment was supposed to be in effect until the end of February, but the extension beyond that has already been determined well in advance.

The company cited market dynamics, inflationary pressures on raw materials, energy cost opportunities and a lack of local domestic fibre supply resulting in substantial increases in operating costs as the reasons for the decision. It says those pressures have materially impacted the current and future financial viability of the paper operation.

The decision affects about 75 employees who are members of Unifor Local 1132.

“We recognize the difficulty this decision has placed on both our employees and the Cowichan Valley community,” said Blair Dickerson, Paper Excellence’s vice president of public affairs. “We will work to minimize negative impacts wherever possible.”

The mill’s pulp operations, which employs about 400 Public and Private Workers of Canada Local 2 members and salaried staff, will continue production during the paper curtailment. The Crofton team is focusing on making the remaining pulp operations cost competitive and aligned with overall business strategies and direction.

Paper Excellence says it will continue to supply customers with products typically made at Crofton from other mills within the company group where possible.

The company acknowledged the federal and provincial government support for its paper operations at Crofton and says it will respect the terms and conditions of contribution agreements affected by the indefinite curtailment and work with the appropriate government agencies on the next steps.

Related story: Curtailment of paper operations at Catalyst Crofton mill extended 90 days

The curtailment of paper operations started for a perceived one-month period on June 30, 2023 and has continually been extended ever since.

Don Bodger

About the Author: Don Bodger

I've been a part of the newspaper industry since 1980 when I began on a part-time basis covering sports for the Ladysmith-Chemainus Chronicle.
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