West Fraser and Mercer to reduce pulp output at Cariboo Pulp & Paper mill due to lack of fibre

Canada's Cariboo Pulp & Paper (CPP), a 50/50 joint venture by West Fraser Timber Co and Mercer International, will curtail pulp production at the Quesnel mill, British Columbia, on two occasions in 2023 due to limited fibre availability.

CPP is geared for production of 366,000 tpy of NBSK pulp. The first downtime is planned for mid-April and will last for a month. Production will be then idled for another month in the third quarter of the year.

West Fraser and Mercer blame the decision on the decline in availability of sawmill residues. "The fibre supply challenge in British Columbia is well documented. Infestation, fire, and government policy decisions have all impacted the amount of available fibre in the province," they announced.

"Downtime at Cariboo Pulp & Paper will help better align our production capacity this year with the available fibre supply," West Fraser explained.

Pulp companies in British Columbia are facing serious problems or several months now due to lack of residual fibre and have already curbed pulp output on several occasions in 2022. The difficult situation is persisting in 2023 and pulp companes are reacting by taking more downtime.

In mid-January 2023 Mercer announced that it would take a three-week downtime at the 500,000 tpy Celgar mill in March.

Canfor Pulp had curtailed production at the 330,000 tpy Intercontinental NBSK pulp mill for four weeks between mid-December and mid-January. In mid-January the company also announced the permanent closure of pulp operations at the Prince George pulp and paper mill. Canfor Pulp explained that the “right-sizing of operating footprint” was necessary due to reduced access to economic residual fibre.

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