Practices and Perspectives
When market and operating conditions require a mill shutdown, we focus on two priorities. We do what we can to help impacted workers, including possible secondments to other mills; and we address any environmental risks on the site – applying every bit as much rigour as we do to ongoing environmental management during operations.
Our Mackenzie mill curtailment was announced in June 2020. We had invested more than $130 million in this mill since acquiring it in 2010 (and relieving the provincial government of the costs of maintaining an asset abandoned by a previous buyer). But pandemic impacts on pulp markets, reduced availability of affordable fibre, and the facility’s small production capacity made its continued operation untenable. (Mackenzie’s permanent closure was announced in April 2021.)
The shutdown process began with a comprehensive “hibernation plan”, and a mill audit to identify some 250 specific actions needed to secure the site, and address any possible risks to the local community and surrounding environment.
The process of tank cleaning alone extended over eight weeks and involved as many as six on-site vacuum trucks at its peak. The mill was emptied of such materials as lab testing chemicals, and in the fall additional building insulation and heating were installed.
The same principle of thorough environmental scrutiny applied after the shutdown of our Northern Pulp mill in Nova Scotia. The closure of the leased environmental treatment facility created added complexity, including an ongoing need to truck surface runoff water for treatment at a local municipal facility.
Small teams of employees provide 24/7 security and monitoring at non-operating mills.
Would you like to learn more about our recent performance and our long-term vision? Visit the Sustainability Report page on our website.
There you can read our full 2019-2020 Sustainability Report, the four-page summary report, and our Practices and Perspective on-the-ground stories.