Resolute might permanently idle newsprint production at Baie-Comeau and Amos mills

17 Mar 2021 − 

Two of Resolute Forest Products' newsprint mills in Canada have been down for almost one year now. The company is currently reviewing options for the sites. It is considered unlikely that newsprint production will restart.

It is almost a year since Canadian forestry company Resolute Forest Products suspended its Baie-Comeau and Amos newsprint mills. Production at Baie-Comeau was stopped on 28 March, at Amos on 20 April 2020. The mills have not resumed operation yet but neither has Resolute announced their permanent closure. "We continue to observe the recovery on the newsprint markets and cannot say at this point when we can resume activities," a company spokesman told EUWID.

Permanent closure of the mills is therefore not yet ruled out, but not planned either. Continuing newsprint production, however, appears unlikely as well. Resolute's wording in talks with local media was pessimistic in this regard. The company considers it unlikely that the Baie-Comeau and Amos mills will continue to produce newsprint. Policymakers and trade unions also rather hint at a sale or a rebuild as potential solutions for the mill, while resuming production in the original form is not talked about.

Resolute declined to confirm plans for a potential rebuild to make other paper grades at this time. "A committee was formed to review different solutions for resuming Baie-Comeau. The results are not yet available," the spokesman said.

Resolute suspended the Baie-Comeau and Amos mills in Québec last spring because of weak demand and withdrew large parts of its newsprint output from the market with this move. The ongoing structural decline on the newsprint market was amplified by the coronavirus crisis. The sites can produce 322,000 tpy and 194,000 tpy of newsprint respectively, representing 40 per cent of Resolute's entire newsprint production of 1.3 million t spread over six mills.

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