Newsprint, directory paper and paperboard production at White Birch Paper’s Stadacona mill in Quebec will probably be resumed soon. A CAD35m loan from the Government of Quebec will allow the company to reopen the site. Six hundred direct jobs will be maintained.
White Birch Paper plans to reopen its Stadacona newsprint, directory paper and paperboard mill in Quebec on 2 August. The company said that after several months of joint efforts with the Government of Quebec and the CEP union (Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada), the parties agreed on a sustainable operating plan. Six hundred direct and around 1,200 indirect jobs are said to be saved thanks to the move.
The government of Quebec reported it allocated a loan of a maximum of CAD35m for the reopening of the Stadacona site. This would help White Birch Paper to improve productivity at Stadacona and enlarge the mill’s product portfolio. Their plans also foresee to raise energy production of the site’s cogeneration facility to 9.5 MW. White Birch Paper intended to invest a total of CAD46m in the mill, the government added.
Stadacona mill in Quebec City has been temporarily down since 9 December 2011. Weak demand for newsprint as well as high raw material costs had led to the decision to halt production. On 6 January, White Birch Paper presented a proposal to the employees explaining that the site could not survive if wages, pension payments and other costs were not cut substantially. As the employees did not initially approve the proposal, the final closure of the mill seemed certain.
The company produces newsprint on three machines with a combined annual capacity of 410,000 t at the Stadacona site. In addition, the mill runs two other machines which can produce 95,000 tpy of directory paper and 45,000 tpy of paperboard. The company’s four mills in Canada and the USA have a total annual capacity of 1.3 million t.
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