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Canfor eliminates Prince George-area sawmill shift, curtails Mackenzie mill indefinitely

Northern B.C. mills the latest of several curtailments, closures in the province
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(via Facebook/Canfor)

With the forestry industry still struggling in the province, two northern B.C. sawmills owned by Canfor are now feeling the effects.

The company announced today (July 18) it will be permanently eliminating one shift from its Isle Pierre sawmill, nearly 50 km west of downtown Prince George, and indefinitely curtailing operations at its Mackenzie sawmill.

Both reductions vary in reasons, but some are for similar circumstances.

Isle Pierre will now only see one working shift for its workers starting Sept. 20, 2019 thanks in part to the mountain pine beetle epidemic that’s caused an ‘insufficient’ timber supply and a decline in annual allowable cut.

In a news release, Canfor explains the one shift will help better align the mill’s production capacity with the “sustainable fibre supply in the region.”

Meanwhile in Mackenzie, its curtailment, with no timeline on the table, is due to a high cost of fibre, continued poor lumber market, and challenging operating conditions that have made the mill ‘uneconomic.’

“We deeply regret the impacts that these capacity reductions will have on our Mackenzie and Isle Pierre employees, contractors, their families and the local communities,” said Canfor Senior VP of Canadian Operations Stephen Mackie in a statement. “The B.C. forest industry is continuing to face very significant challenges. None of our temporary or permanent curtailment decisions have been made lightly, nor are they a reflection on the hard work and dedication of our employees.”

This comes less than a month after Canfor announced curtailments at two of Prince George’s pulpmills (Intercontinental and Northwood NBSK). 

Around 400 million board feet of lumber is expected to be lost with these latest curtailments.