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Celgar to take three weeks of downtime in March

Facing a fibre shortage, Castlegar’s pulp mill will shut down for three weeks.

Mercer Celgar says the mill will close March 7 for 21 days followed by a three-day maintenance period.

The mill has already been operating at reduced production rates since early November. It employs 427 people.

“The forest industry is experiencing a shortage of economic fibre in British Columbia,” managing director Bill MacPherson said in a news release.

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“The fibre for pulp mills in BC is increasingly constrained due to the impacts of economic and regulatory hurdles, the decreasing allowable annual cut, the end of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, wildfires and reduced sawmill capacity in the province.

“Despite our best efforts to remain operational and withstand these challenging times, the current fibre supply situation has made operating costs become uneconomical and leaves us with no choice but to make the difficult decision to curtail our operations, following suit with the majority of pulp mills in the province.”

We have requested interviews with Celgar management and mayor Maria McFaddin.

Last week Canfor announced that it would permanently close its pulp line in Prince George. Vaagen Fibre of Midway also announced recently that its Midway mill would close indefinitely once it has run out its log supply.

Mercer Celgar is a subsidiary of Mercer International and also has operations in Germany, the U.S., and Australia. It produces about 500,000 tones of nothern bleached softwood kraft pulp per year along with energy and turpentine.

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