January 30, 2023

VANCOUVER – Canfor Corporation announces it is “restructuring” its British Columbia operations, permanently closing one sawmill and closing another for an extended period while planning the construction of a new wood processing plant.

VANCOUVER – Canfor Corporation announces it is “restructuring” its British Columbia operations, permanently closing one sawmill and closing another for an extended period while planning the construction of a new wood processing plant.

A statement on Wednesday by the Vancouver-based company said its sawmill and pellet factory in Chetwynd, BC, north of Prince George, is expected to close in early the second quarter of 2023.

Meanwhile, the sawmill in Houston, BC, west of Prince George, is said to be temporarily closing for an indefinite period as Canfor plans to build a “new, modern, globally competitive manufacturing facility” to produce “high-quality products.”

Canfor says pre-planning and budgeting for this project is ongoing, and the company will conduct a “comprehensive assessment” of the availability of fiber to support the facility and make a final investment decision by the end of June.

Forestry Secretary Bruce Ralston issued a statement in response to Canfor’s announcement, saying the BC government has “a duty to support forest workers affected by closures” and community support teams have been activated.

Canfor President Don Kayne says the company is making these “difficult but necessary decisions to create a more sustainable footprint” in BC

“Our goal is to balance our mill capacity with the economically available fiber for harvest,” he said. “This will ultimately create more stability for our employees and communities.”

While the short-term prospects in BC are “challenging” given fiber coverage, he said the province remains “an important part” of the company’s operations.

“The changes we’re announcing will help make us smaller but stronger in BC and help ensure we continue to contribute to the economy and quality of life here in the province for decades to come.”

Canfor officials did not immediately respond to a question Wednesday night about the number of jobs affected by the closures.

The announcement comes just two weeks after Canfor announced it would permanently close the pulp line at its Prince George pulp and paper mill later this spring, which will impact an estimated 300 jobs by the end of the year.

Ralston’s statement said BC’s annual allowable pruning has declined due to “unprecedented wildfires” in various parts of the province, as well as halting harvesting in forests affected by previous mountain pine beetle infestations.

He said the province welcomes Canfor’s plan to build a manufacturing facility in Houston, where the minister notes that annual harvests are down more than 25 percent compared to 2008 during the height of the beetle epidemic.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on January 25, 2023.

Companies in this story: (TSX:CFP, TSX:CFX)

The Canadian Press

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