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Catalyst Crofton paper mill operations to be curtailed indefinitely

Operations at a paper mill in Crofton will be reduced indefinitely at the end of the year.

Paper Excellence announced Thursday that its Catalyst Crofton facility will see operations slow down. They say this is because Chinese paper markets served by the mill have significantly weakened and chemical, wood fibre and energy costs have gone up.

The pulp manufacturer says they expect to operate the mill’s machines for 60 days after the announcement, with curtailment hitting in December. Pulp operations will continue to produce paper.

They add they will be working closely with unions as the decision affects about 80 Unifor and 70 PPWC employees.

“We recognize the hardship this will have on both our employees and the Cowichan Valley,” said Paper Excellence in a statement. “We hope to minimize these impacts through union discussions that will consider secondments, utilization of earned time off and employment insurance.”

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Production will still continue through its Port Alberni paper machines, making food and packing grades.

They add the company is working with both the provincial and federal governments while it does studies at the Crofton facility to consider accelerating its conversion into natural food and packaging grades.

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