Paper Excellence today announced the indefinite curtailment of its paper operations at the Catalyst Crofton facility starting in early December 2022. Paper markets in China served by the mill have significantly weakened while there have been substantial cost escalations for chemicals, energy and wood fibre used at Crofton. The intersection of these pressures has materially impacted the financial viability of the paper operation.
We expect to operate Crofton’s paper machines for 60 days following this announcement. We will be working closely with both unions as this decision affects about 80 Unifor employees and 70 PPWC employees. We recognize the hardship this will have on both our employees and the Cowichan Valley. We hope to minimize these impacts through union discussions that will consider secondments, utilization of earned time off and employment insurance. The mill’s pulp operations will continue production during the paper curtailment.
Paper Excellence will be reaching out to assist customers with this transition and will continue to supply them with production from its Port Alberni mill where possible. In 2021, the company invested in repurposing its Port Alberni paper machines to manufacture food and packaging grades.
Paper Excellence is working with both Provincial and Federal Governments while it conducts studies at the Crofton facility to consider accelerating its conversion into natural food and packaging grades. Paper Excellence continues to believe in Canada as a leader in the pulp and paper industry and remains committed to its long-term investments here.