Pulp mill shutdown extended two weeks

A scheduled week-long shutdown for maintenance at PG Pulp and Paper will be followed by a two-week closure in response to weak prices for its product, a Canfor Pulp spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

Employees were notified on Tuesday, Michelle Ward said in an email. The maintenance turnaround is to run from Sept. 14 to 22 but the mill will not resume operating until at least Oct. 7.

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Ward attributed the move to weak demand and low prices for unbleached kraft pulp and kraft paper.

"We regret the impact the extended downtime will have on our employees, their families and the local communities," Ward added.

The number of employees affected was not provided.

According to Canfor Pulp's second quarter report, issued July 25, the price of northern bleached softwood kraft shipped to China fell by 18 per cent over the quarter while that shipped to the United States dropped eight per cent.

In response, the company invoked phased curtailments at its Intercontinental and Northwood pulp mills in Prince George.

In an online video presentation, posted Aug. 26, consultant Brian McClay and Associates said China has been the "engine driving demand growth" while demand in Europe has been terrible and weak in North America.

But China is "no longer propping everything up as their economy struggles amidst a massive trade war with the U.S. and high debt levels."

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