MONTREAL - High fiber costs and low market values have forced Resolute Forest Products to suspend indefinitely its wood-cutting operations in Quebec's Mauricie region near Trois-Rivieres. The suspension, which took effect November 27, affects at least 180 jobs.
The Mauricie woodland operation is one of six in Quebec, along with one in Ontario and two in the United States that supply logs to Resolute's sawmills and pulp and paper mills. According to Karl Blackburn, spokesman for the Montreal-based forest products company, the decision won't have an immediate impact on a local sawmill that employs 135, however, he added, that could change once stockpiles are used up.
According to the Canadian press, Resolute has been in discussion with the local government regarding fiber costs. The company has said it won't restart operations if the situation doesn't change.
This is not the first time Resolute has had to suspend operations at one of its Quebec woodlands. Last year the company and two of its competitors temporarily suspended activities in the North Shore area because of a spruce budworm infestation that damaged the wood.
In related news, Resolute's Black Spruce/Dog River-Matawin forest in Ontario was recently reinstated by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for sustainable forest management. The Northwestern Ontario timberland's certification was suspended in January 2014 following an audit by Rainforest Alliance. Resolute said now that 100 percent of its woodlands are certified under one of the three independent auditor groups recognized in Canada: Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), Canadian Standards Association (CSA) or FSC. In addition to the Mauricie operation, Resolute has woodland operations in: Abitibi, Charlevoix, Côte-Nord, Lac-Saint-Jean and Outaouais in Quebec; Thunder Bay, Ontario; and in Tennessee and Washington, United States
Also according to its website, Resolute has 21 wood products facilities producing 2.8 billion board feet of capacity. Of that, lumber accounts for roughly 2.5 billion board feet; 82 million board feet remanufactured wood; engineered wood is approximately 145 million linear feet; and wood pellets are 45,000 metric tons.
2014 sales of the company's products totaled $4.258 billion.
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