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Mercer Celgar ends temporary curtailment ahead of schedule

Company warns odours may be noticeable during mill start-up
The curtailment at the Mercer Celgar Castlegar site is ending one week early. Photo: John Boivin

Mercer Celgar’s temporary curtailment of the Castlegar pulp mill is ending one week early.

The shut down was supposed to last from July 29 – Aug. 28, but the mill will resume operations on Monday, Aug. 21.

The company says the curtailment was due to a significant loss of rail transport capacity resulting from the Vancouver port job action that began on July 1 when 7400 waterfront workers walked off the job.

Mill start-up is expected to take one week. The company says odours may be noticeable during that time.

“Every effort will be taken to minimize impact on the surrounding areas and any odour experienced will be temporary,” said Mercer in a statement.

“Your understanding and patience is appreciated and Mercer Celgar apologizes for any inconvenience.”

Back in March, Celgar curtailed its pulp operations for 21 days due to a lack of available economic fibre in the province.

On Aug. 3, Mercer reported a second quarter net loss of $98.3 million. When added to a net loss of $30.6 million in the first quarter of 2023 the company had a net loss of $128.9 million in the first half of 2023. This compares to a net income of $160.3 million in the same period of 2022.

Mercer CEO Juan Carlos Bueno blamed the losses on an overall weakness in the pulp and lumber markets.

“Lower pulp prices were primarily the result of weak demand for paper caused by weak economic growth and high inventory levels along with slower than anticipated market recovery in post-Covid China,” said Bueno.

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Betsy Kline

About the Author: Betsy Kline

After spending several years as a freelance writer for the Castlegar News, Betsy joined the editorial staff as a reporter in March of 2015. In 2020, she moved into the editor's position.
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