ST. STEPHEN, New Brunswick – Arauco North America has informed employees that particleboard operations will end in St. Stephen by the end of 2019.

The mill will continue to manufacture Fibrex from this location. The decision is expected to affect between 60 and 75 positions, although the final number will be known following the voluntary severance period. Employees have three weeks to consider early retirements or voluntary departures from the mill.

“This was not an easy decision to make and is in no way reflective of the quality of local operations in St. Stephen. It is a decision based on the economics of our business and the changing nature of the industry,” said Kelly Shotbolt, outgoing president, Arauco North America. “We know this is difficult news for all of us, but we are committed to supporting our employees and their families during this transition.”

A number of factors influenced the decision to stop particleboard production in St. Stephen. These include high costs for natural gas and electricity, distance from market, and an overall lack of demand owing to increased competition from newer and larger facilities.

“While this was an incredibly difficult decision, we are now focused on supporting our employees and their families,” said Dave Moffatt, plant manager. “We want to ensure they are supported through this transition period, and we are looking forward to the future of our operations here in St. Stephen.”

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