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Category Archives: Business & Politics

Business & Politics

B.C. targets Asian alternatives in diversification plan

By Chuck Chiang
Business in Vancouver
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, International

B.C.’s latest trade mission to Asia appears to heed the advice of Asia-Pacific economic observers to diversify beyond the United States and China, its two largest trade partners. Government officials have admitted that China will be skipped in the province’s trade mission to Japan and South Korea in part because of Ottawa’s strained relationship with Beijing. …But they added that the pull factor from Japan… played just as big a role. …Many trade observers have said B.C. needs to diversify trade away from the U.S. and China because President Donald Trump’s protectionist administration and China’s hardline stance on Canadian trade following Meng’s arrest. …However, observers also warned that none of the markets can fully replace China if relations deteriorate further. …B.C. cancelled the Chinese leg of a lumber-industry trade mission to Asia earlier this year following Meng’s arrest.

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Canada’s forest sector applauds investments in skills and innovation

Forest Products Association of Canada
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) applauds the federal government’s commitment to skills development and innovation in Canada’s forest products sector. Today’s budget commits more than $250M in funding to bolster Canada’s forest products industry, which employs more than 230,000 Canadians. “Today the government signaled that it recognizes and supports the transformation taking place in Canada’s forestry communities, noted Derek Nighbor, FPAC’s President and CEO. “Substantial investments dedicated to accelerating research and development, improving market access, and advancing product innovations demonstrate that the government understands where our industry is heading. We look forward to continuing our work with the federal government on these priorities for forestry workers and their families across Canada.”

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2019 Federal Budget Supports Forestry Innovation, New Products and Markets

FPInnovations
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

Montreal – FPInnovations’ President and CEO Stéphane Renou, today welcomed Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s commitment to continue investing in the competitiveness of the Canadian forest industry by allocating $251.3-million over three years beginning in 2020-21 to encourage the forest sector to continue growing and develop new technologies. In his budget, Minister Morneau announced that the funds will extend existing innovation, markets, and product diversification programs. More specifically, Minister Morneau announced $91.8-million for the Forest Innovation Program covering the same time frame.

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Western Canadian resource sectors a federal budget focus

By Warren Frey
The Daily Commercial News
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

OTTAWA – While pharmacare, housing and skills training took top billing, the 2019 federal budget also focused on western Canadian resource development and the move to a green economy. …The budget proposes an investment of $251.3 million over three years to NRCan starting in 2020-2021 to extend existing innovation and diversification programs for the forestry sector. The investments would include up to $91.8 million over three years for the Forest Innovation Program supporting pre-commercial research and development and up to $82.9 million for the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation program, to support industrial commercialization and innovation in technology and processes. Up to $64 million is proposed for the Expanding Market Opportunities program, which is designed to increase and diversify market opportunity for Canadian forest products in offshore markets and expand wood use in non-residential and mid-rise construction within and outside of Canada. A total of $12.6 million would go to the Indigenous Forestry Initiative which supports forest-based economic development.

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Global softwood lumber trade fell 7% in 2018, US lumber prices took a roller coaster ride and China’s wood demand slowed in the 2H/18

By Hakan Ekstrom
Wood Resources International LLC
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

In 2018, global trade of lumber fell for the first time in five years, with total trade down 7% year-over-year. The four largest importing countries, the US (-18%), China (-5%), the United Kingdom (-13%) and Japan (-6%) all imported less in 2018 than in the previous year. Much of the decline was the result of weaker economic prospects and reduced housing starts. US lumber prices have gone through a historical roller-coaster ride over the past 12 months. Random Lengths’ composite index for southern yellow pine was at $420/m3 in January 2018, peaked at $554/m3 in June and fell to $372/m3 in January 2019. 2018 softwood lumber exports from Canada were down 5% from 2017, with the biggest decline being in shipments to China. A three-year high of 80% of total exports were destined for the US market in the 3Q/18 despite efforts by Canada’s lumber industry to diversify its export shipments. China’s share has fallen from 13% in 2017 to 12% in 2018. The average export price from Canada declined by 28% this fall.

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Random Lengths Lumber and Panel Market Report

Random Lengths
March 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Framing lumber trading developed a stronger pulse for those serving markets graced with warmer and drier weather. …Structural panel prices shifted mildly amid measured trading. Price trends were mixed in OSB. …For the first time in years, harsh winter weather has slowed consumption of wood products across the vast majority of Canada and the U.S. With the official start of spring slated for next week, traders are openly wondering whether pent-up demand will lead to a surge of business. …North American lumber production edged up 0.8% in 2018 to 62.3 billion board feet, with U.S. output driving the uptick. U.S. production of 34.9 bbf represented a 3.3% increase over 2017. Canadian production fell 2.3% to 27.4 bbf. …Trader’s Notebook: Last year’s record price volatility and anomalous trends will remain fresh in softwood lumber traders’ minds as they assess second-quarter prospects.

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Pacific Bioenergy goes to great lengths to secure wood

By Cheryl Jahn
CKPG TV Prince George
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Don Steele

PRINCE GEORGE, BC – Pacific Bioenergy recently announced new long-term contracts with Sumitomo Corporation, supplying 170,000 tonnes per year by 2020. “These are big, breakthrough contracts here into a whole new market in Japan,” said Don Steele, CEO of Pacific Bioenergy. …But the material that is “really surplus to the traditional forest industry” is tough to come by for all players in the sector, whether it’s traditional saw logs or pellets. Pacific Bioenergy, for example, has been placing ads in differ publications looking for fibre. Any fibre. …”We’re going to buy four and a half million of wood, one way or the other to fill those orders over the next ten, 15 years through the newspapers, from buying from others. It’s gonna be logs, it’s gonna be planer shavings. It’s gonna be waste product traditionally.”

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Quesnel’s new Forestry Initiatives Program up and running

By Lindsay Chung
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Taddea Kunkel and Erin Robinson

Construction is underway on the City of Quesnel’s new Forestry Innovation Centre, and the City’s new Forestry Initiatives Program is up and running. The City announced Wednesday (March 20) that the Forestry Initiatives Program (FIP), which began in January, is officially underway and moving forward. The program, which is operated by Forestry Initiatives Manager Erin Robinson and Forestry Initiatives Co-ordinator Taddea Kunkel, was created to address the multiple challenges facing our community at this time — mainly protecting our communities from wildfire, rehabilitating the land after wildfire, and finding ways of innovating the forest products manufacturing sector, according to a press release from the City. …The FIP is made possible through funding provided by the City of Quesnel, BC Rural Dividend, Community Resiliency Investment Program, Forestry Enhancement Society of British Columbia, and Cariboo Strong.

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Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

BC Local News
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Three members of the Tsawout First Nation continue to protest a logging operation on Saturna Island, which has highlighted legal grey areas when it comes to First Nation land use. Since the middle of last week, three First Nation members, supported by a fluctuating number of Saturna Island residents, have remained on site, peacefully blocking tree falling. They are angry at their chief and council’s decision to contract a lumber company to fell trees on a 33,477 cubic metres stretch of community land on Saturna Island Indian Reserve No. 7.  …While the permits were issued legally, the opaque nature of how the Douglas treaties can be interpreted and legal issues about First Nations’ members’ rights to their land mean the unhappy community members are questioning how a council decision, made by a limited number of people often with family ties, can have such a large impact on their traditional way of life.

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Castlegar to get new $35 million engineered wood plant

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

A family owned business in Castlegar is investing $35 million in a new engineered wood manufacturing plant that will add 50 new jobs, but which won’t need any more timber than it already consumes at its existing sawmill and manufacturing plant. …“They’re very high-end operational type jobs,” Kalesnikoff said. With a long-term decline in the annual allowable cut in B.C., both the NDP and previous Liberal governments have been trying to promote more value-added wood manufacturing in order to maximize the use of B.C. timber. The new plant definitely fits the value-added category because it doesn’t actually require any more timber than the company currently consumes at its existing sawmill and manufacturing plant, where it makes a product called “lamstock” for other engineered wood product manufacturers like Structurlam.

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Western Forest Products Publishes Sustainability Report

Western Forest Products
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER, BC — Western Forest Products announced that it has published its first sustainability report, highlighting the Company’s governance, environmental and social practices and performance during 2018. The report is available at www.westernforest.com/responsibility. …Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer…“With this report, we are continuing the evolution of our sustainability disclosure: pledging to set goals, track progress and report on key performance measures.” The report outlines how Western is defining a higher standard in being accountable to our people, the environment, First Nations and the communities in which we operate, while producing the world’s most sustainable building material.

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Cowichan Bay sawmill to shutter operations for 2 weeks; union sees it as bargaining tactic

By Robert Barron
The Cowichan Valley Citizen
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Workers at Western Forest Products’ Cowichan Bay sawmill believe that an upcoming two-week shutdown is a bargaining tactic by the forest company. …WFP director of communications Babita Khunkhun said the decision is directly related to poor international market conditions and the persistently high cost of the logs processed at the mill.” …But Brian Butler, president of United Steel Workers’ Local 1-1937, which represents workers at the mill, said this is a contract year for the coastal forest industry, and he believes the shut down is meant to dampen efforts by the workers to get the best deal they can in the collective bargaining process. …WFP announced last week that it was also curtailing work at its APD sawmill in Port Alberni for a month… for the same reasons.

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Amendments for Pinnacle Pellet focus of March 28 open house

By Greg Sabatino
Williams Lake Tribune
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

An application for a permit amendment for Pinnacle Pellet will be the subject of an upcoming open house in Williams Lake. Rose Loerke, project leader at Pinnacle Renewable Energy Inc., is inviting the community to the event coming up March 28 …to share details of proposed upgrades to the Williams Lake plant, listen to members of the community and to have questions answered. “We’re looking at proposing an upgrade to the Williams Lake facility to improve our flexibility to process a variety of different fibre,” Loerke said. “We are requesting to add another dryer so we have the ability to process that fibre. Right now we’re a little bit constrained.” When asked if the upgrade would impact air quality, Loerke said that is a hard question to answer because the air dispersion modeling doesn’t take into consideration the amount of bush residuals which will be used by Pinnacle Pellet rather than burned in the cutblocks.

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What B.C. municipalities can learn from reconciliation on Haida Gwaii

By Justin McElroy
CBC News
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Kris Olsen

On Haida Gwaii, signs of reconciliation can be as small as the Indigenous artwork seen on [Queen Charlotte Village Mayor] Kris Olsen’s eyepatch. …It was nine years ago that its name changed under the Haida Gwaii Reconciliation Act, capping off a series of agreements and pieces of legislation that made reconciliation a political part of life, well before the vast majority of B.C.  …the biggest piece of advice Olsen and other local politicians have is the work of reconciliation continues long after the ceremonies are scheduled and the framework put in place. …Jaalen Edenshaw was the lead carver of the Gwaii Haanas Legacy Pole… He believes one of the biggest steps taken by local governments was by Port Clements in 2004, when it took intervenor status on a forestry-related lawsuit that established guidelines around consulting Indgenous communities before developing or exploiting lands. 

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Premier retreats from stand on Catalyst pension

By Les Leyne
The Times-Colonist
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Premier John Horgan celebrated the sale of Catalyst Paper this week at the Crofton mill, but the government quietly retreated from a stand it took last summer to protect pensioners, in order to see the deal concluded. …The company was selling U.S. assets at the time, and the fear was it would break up B.C. operations and sell them piecemeal. In response, the government drafted a quick amendment to the pension regulations… required that if any or all of the three coastal mills… were sold or closed, the company would have to fund its outstanding pension obligations “immediately.” …But the pension shortfall remains outstanding, because the deal was exempted from the July regulation. …The premier’s office said Tuesday that Paper Excellence has unconditionally guaranteed the pensions. Catalyst will continue to make pension payments, and Paper Excellence has guaranteed it will step in if Catalyst is unable.

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Premier on hand as Paper Excellence finalizes Catalyst Paper purchase

BC Local News
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The addition of Catalyst Paper to the company puts the “paper” in Paper Excellence Canada, said PEP CEO Brian Baarda. Baarda was joined by B.C. Premier John Horgan, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, MLA Doug Routley… to celebrate the completion of the deal that adds Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill, as well as its two mills in Port Alberni and Powell River, to PEC’s’s assets. Horgan said… “Last year, we stepped up to protect pensions for Catalyst employees and stood up against unfair U.S. trade tariffs because when forestry is successful, B.C. is successful,” Horgan said. …The B.C.-based Paper Excellence, which had five operating mills in Canada and two mills in France before its acquisition of Catalyst Paper and its three mills, has quickly grown to be one of the largest pulp producers in North America.

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Paper Excellence finalizes deal to acquire Crofton’s Catalyst Paper

By Robert Barron
Cowichan Valley Citizen
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The addition of Catalyst Paper to the company puts the “paper” in Paper Excellence Canada, said PEP CEO Brian Baarda. Baarda was joined by B.C. Premier John Horgan, North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring, MLA Doug Routley and other dignitaries and company officials …to celebrate the completion of the deal that adds Catalyst Paper’s Crofton mill, as well as its two mills in Port Alberni and Powell River, to PEC’s’s assets. …Baarda said the acquisition of Catalyst is a continued step towards PEC’s long-term growth plan within Canada’s pulp and paper industry and clearly demonstrates its commitment to B.C. “Together, these combined operations will improve efficiency and sustainability in the forest industry in B.C. and Canada,” he said. “We also look forward to being an integral part of the community here in Crofton and the Cowichan Valley, as well as in Port Alberni and Powell River…”

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Interfor Publishes 2018 Corporate Sustainability Report

Interfor Corporation
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

INTERFOR CORPORATION—announced today that it has published its 2018 corporate sustainability report; it can be viewed online. The report highlights Interfor’s continuing commitment to making quality lumber products, managing forests sustainably, providing meaningful and safe jobs for employees, investing in its facilities, operating to strict environmental parameters and supporting local and First Nations communities. In addition, a new chapter was added on climate change to highlight the work done by the Company to mitigate environmental impacts and promote the environmental benefits of building with wood.

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Done deal – Paper Excellence owns Catalyst

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Richmond based Paper Excellence now owns three pulp and paper mills owned by Catalyst Paper. The formal transfer of ownership was marked Monday March 18 in Crofton, where one of the three Catalyst mills is located. The acquisition also includes Catalyst’s distribution centre in Surrey, and mills in Port Alberni and Powell River. Paper Excellence has not divulged how much it paid to acquire Catalyst, which has struggled financially for a decade, thanks in part of declining demand for newsprint and other paper products in the digital age. Catalyst, previously a publicly traded company, nearly went bankrupt in 2012, when it sought creditor protection, and emerged from that experience as a private company. …Catalyst employs 1,600 workers in B.C. and is Crofton’s largest employer, so the mill’s closure would be a major blow to to the community.

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Construction to start in a few weeks on Kalesnikoff’s $35 million project

By Betsy Kline
The Castlegar News
March 16, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Construction is set to begin in just a few weeks on Kalesnikoff Lumber’s new $35 million project. The company is expanding into mass timber manufacturing and they say the new venture will be North America’s most advanced, fully integrated, multi-species mass timber manufacturing facility. The business expansion will create 50 full-time, technology-centered local jobs. “We are excited to grow from 150 to 200 employees and really re-invest back in the community,” said Kalesnikoff’s CEO Chris Kalesnikoff. …One of the products the facility will produce is glulam beams, which are laminated structural lumber. The other is cross-laminated timber, essentially large engineered wood panels. The facility will be able to produce panels that are up to 60 feet in length. …The building should be complete by September, with glulam production starting by the end of the year and cross laminated timber production starting by spring of 2020.

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Kootenay mill plans ‘mass’ expansion

By Bob Keating
CBC News
March 15, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

On the heels of changes to B.C.’s Building Code to allow 12-storey wood buildings, a family-run mill in the Kootenays is planning a $35 million dollar ‘mass timber’ expansion. Mass timber is a replacement for steel in tall buildings and is just starting to get a foothold in North America. Kalesnikoff Lumber near Castlegar will get in on the future of tall building construction by building a mass timber manufacturing plant. The company says it will begin manufacturing wood panels later this year at a plant between Castlegar and Nelson. “It’s really exciting for our business and our family. We are a fourth generation business, and we are looking for ways to grow our business and stabilize our business, and this is a really important step,” says Chris Kalesnikoff, chief operating officer at Kalesnikoff.

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‘Value added’: Investing in trees good for economy, environment, MPPs told

By John Carter
Inside Ottawa Valley
March 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Investing in forestry and tree-planting makes good business and environmental sense. That was the message a delegation that included Renfrew Reeve Peter Emon brought to legislators at Queen’s Park March 20. Emon and Forests Ontario CEO Rob Keen released a report outlining the positive impacts of tree planting, including jobs and a variety of spin-off benefits. …Emon observed that in addition to obvious environmental benefits, the practice “leads to jobs and economic gains, as nurseries, landowners, municipalities and forestry consultants engage in tree-planting activities.” …Using standardized techniques for calculating ecosystem services, Green Analytics demonstrated the trees planted through Forests Ontario’s efforts are conservatively valued at $82.7 million annually. For every $1.80 the provincial government provides Forests Ontario to support tree planting, no less than $19.85 in ecosystem service value is derived. This translates to an 11:1 return on investment, concludes the report.

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Resolute announces curtailments in Quebec, Ontario

Random Lengths
March 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Resolute Forest Products today announced that due to log supply constraints, the company will curtail production at several of its Quebec and Ontario stud sawmills during the second quarter, representing about 30 million board feet of lumber. Challenging winter weather conditions, in addition to a very wet fall, slowed down our woodlands operations and related transportation, impacting log supply for Q2, said a company spokesman. “We do not anticipate any issues meeting our customer commitments, and we are making every effort to minimize the impact of this decision on our employees and suppliers,” he said.

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Former Port-Alfred mill site to be transferred to City of Saguenay for one dollar

Resolute Blog
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The residents of Saguenay (Quebec) will gain access to an area of stunning natural beauty when the site of Resolute’s former Port-Alfred mill is sold to the City of Saguenay for the symbolic amount of $1. The area, which measures approximately 0.3 square kilometers (0.1 square miles), features a dramatic landscape dominated by the awe-inspiring Saguenay Fjord (a narrow inlet bound by steep cliffs). The sale will be concluded later in 2019 and is contingent upon a promise from the City that the site will remain accessible to the public. “We are pleased the Port-Alfred site will be transformed into a public space for residents of La Baie and the Saguenay region to enjoy year round,” said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer.

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Could Resolute keep its logging rights near Fort Frances without a mill? Expert says it’s possible

By Matt Prokopchuk
CBC News
March 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Warren Maybee

With Resolute Forest Products saying it wants to decommission and redevelop its mill property in Fort Frances, Ont., an expert in environmental policy says the forestry giant could still keep its logging rights to the nearby Crossroute Forest even without a plant in the northwestern Ontario town. That comes as Resolute’s sustainable forestry licence for the Crossroute Forest is set to expire in 2022. …Resolute’s current forestry licence for the Crossroute Forest states that the wood harvested is to be used for the “existing forest resource processing facility … located at Fort Frances, Ontario.” The mill closed in 2014. At least one previous potential deal for the property also fell through. But when the time comes for licence renewal, the company can argue that the wood is needed for its other operations in the northwest, said Warren Mabee, the director of the Queen’s University Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.

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Could be the wrecking ball for Fort Frances mill

By Ian Ross
Northern Ontario Business
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Resolute Forest Products is selling its closed Fort Frances mill to an undisclosed site redeveloper to demolish buildings on the property and repurpose it for other community uses. “We anticipate the sale will finalize in the next couple months,” said Resolute spokesman Seth Kursman. With negotiations for the former pulp and paper mill apparently broken off, Resolute maintains if someone wants to restore the property back to manufacturing status, they’ll have to take that up with the incoming site redeveloper. The Town of Fort Frances’ preferred choice to revitalize the mill is Rainy River Packaging (formerly known as Repap), a private consortium of investors, experienced in forestry, with some connections to the mill. …“My commitment has not changed. This has been a six-year process and I am not ready to give up the fight, and I know the community of Fort Frances is not ready to give up either,” said Cabinet Minister Greg Rickford.

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Budget 2019 Good For Northwestern Ontario – MP Rusnak

Net News Ledger
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Don Rusnak

OTTAWA – “The 2019 Federal Budget is good news for Northwestern Ontario”, according to Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay-Rainy River. …Rusnak also highlighted Budget 2019’s commitment to supporting Northwestern Ontario farmers and forestry workers. …For forestry workers, they will be helped by the investment of $251.3 million over 3 years to support existing forestry innovation and diversification programs, including the Forest Innovation Fund and the Indigenous Forestry Initiative. Rusnak believes both these investments are critical for the growth of two of Northwestern Ontario’s most important economic sectors.

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As Ontario 50 Million Tree Program approaches the halfway mark, the economic benefits are reported

Forests Ontario
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Rob Keen and Peter Emon

Today, Forests Ontario released The Economic Value of Tree Planting in Southern Ontario, a new report by Guelph-based consulting firm Green Analytics.  Committed to re-greening Ontario through tree planting, education and awareness efforts, Forests Ontario is the not-for-profit charity that delivers the Government of Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program (50MTP). At the Ontario Legislature, Rob Keen, Registered Professional Forester and Forests Ontario CEO along with Peter Emon, long standing County of Renfrew Councilor and Reeve of Renfrew, described how the province has benefited from ten planting seasons of the 50MTP. Since 2008, the Program has facilitated the planting of more than 24 million trees over 14,800 hectares, an area equivalent to one-quarter the size of Lake Simcoe. These plantings sequester 19,000 tonnes of carbon each year – the same amount of carbon emitted from driving more than 80 million kilometres.

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Combo heat and power plant proposed for Thunder Bay generating station

By Gary Rinne
The Thunder Bay News Watch
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

THUNDER BAY — A group of Thunder Bay residents believes the shuttered Ontario Power Generation plant on Mission Island holds the potential to generate hundreds of new jobs. The members of the volunteer group have developed a plan to repurpose the station as a combined heat and power plant, creating spinoff jobs in greenhouse operations and the manufacturing of residential and industrial wood pellets. …McLeod’s group, however, feels… “The proposal is for a combined heat and power station that would be central to supporting a bio reactor, bio refinery, merchandising yard, greenhouses for locally grown food, [Resolute] paper and kraft mill, Confederation College’s education biomass program, city sewer, city recycle and city water facility while enhancing and supporting the forest industry to produce biomass white (residential) and black advanced (industrial) wood pellets”.

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Rickford says Fort Frances mill remains ‘viable’

By Gary Rinne
The Thunder Bay News Watch
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Greg Rickford

FORT FRANCES, ON — The MPP for Kenora-Rainy River, Greg Rickford, says he feels there’s still a chance to re-start the Fort Frances pulp and paper mill under new ownership. Rickford posted his reaction on social media Monday, after Resolute Forest Products announced it had rejected a bid by Repap Resources to buy the idled mill. Resolute stated that Repap’s proposal fell short of what was needed: They failed to provide the required financial deposit, did not mark up the asset purchase agreement, did not address our key requirement to perform environmental remediation, and did not produce sufficient, committed financing to move forward. In addition, their refusal to agree to treat Resolute’s information on a confidential basis prevented them from accessing sufficient information to inform their bid and put forward a responsive offer.

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Disappointed but not surprised, Fort Frances councillor says of rejected mill bid

By Matt Prokopchuk
CBC News
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Local and provincial politicians say they’re disappointed that a deal that promised to reopen the shuttered paper mill in Fort Frances, Ont., fell through and that the company that owns the site appears to be focussed on demolishing the plant. Resolute Forest Products informed municipal leaders in Fort Frances on Monday that it rejected a bid submitted by Repap Resources Group. Repap had said it would reopen the mill, which has been idle since 2014, if it could acquire it, and said between 600 and 700 jobs would be created. …”We’re not necessarily surprised by this outcome — Resolute has certainly reflected a disinclination … to sell the property to a buyer that would operate it,” Coun. Douglas Judson told CBC News. 

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Fort Frances Profoundly Disappointed by Resolute Forest Products

By the Town of Fort Frances
The Net News Ledger
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

FORT FRANCES – The Town of Fort Frances is profoundly disappointed and disillusioned by the announcement yesterday by Resolute that they will not entertain the offer to Rainy River Packaging Inc. (formerly Repap LLC). We remain committed to attempting to transition the mill to an operational entity and will work with all parties toward that goal. We have met with Rainy River Packaging Inc. and Minister Rickford and will reach out to both the potential buyer and to Resolute to enter into discussions to continue our mission to broker a deal. …The Town is preparing for all eventualities for the future of the mill property but continues to work toward an operational future for this key economic asset.

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Province favours Fort Frances mill reopening

By Ian Ross
Northern Ontario Business
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Provincial cabinet minister Greg Rickford has thrown his support behind the reopening of the former Fort Frances pulp and paper mill under potential new ownership. Rickford, Ontario’s energy and Northern development and mines minister, is backing the Town of Fort Frances’ efforts to gain control of local wood rights from Resolute Forest Products and save the mill buildings from demolition. “We will work with any successful bidder on securing wood supply for the Fort Frances facility,” said Rickford in a statement released one day before Resolute’s March 15 deadline to take bids on the property. “I stand behind the people of Fort Frances, and I am very focused on seeing this important asset reopen, and bring good jobs back to northwestern Ontario.” …The town’s efforts to save the mill and encourage a new operator has drawn support from other communities, First Nations leadership, business groups and organized labour. 

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Resolute rejects Repap Resources’ bid for Fort Frances mill, says it will proceed with redevelopment

By Matt Prokopchuk
CBC News
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Resolute Forest Products has rejected a bid from a private investment group interested in purchasing the shuttered paper mill in Fort Frances, Ont., and says it will turn its attention to redeveloping the site. That was communicated in a letter sent by the forestry giant to Fort Frances mayor June Caul on Monday. Repap Resources Group said on Friday that it had submitted a “multi-million dollar” offer to purchase the mill and its assets. Resolute closed the plant in 2014; the company said Repap’s offer “fell short on multiple fronts.” Resolute had already signed an agreement with a company that specializes in redeveloping industrial sites in January, according to the letter to the town from Resolute president and chief executive officer Yves Laflamme, but entertained interest from other parties, including Repap. Laflamme’s letter said that Repap was the only party to actually submit a bid.

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Repap Resources submits ‘multi-million dollar’ bid for shuttered northern Ontario mill

By Matt Prokopchuk
CBC News
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A private investment group has made an offer for the shuttered mill in Fort Frances, Ont., and says, if its bid is successful, it will restart the plant, putting hundreds of people to work. …Repap’s “multi-million dollar offer” for the kraft paper plant, which it submitted prior to a March 15 deadline, also contains proposals to work cooperatively with Resolute, including offering saw logs it harvests to Resolute’s sawmills in Ignace and Atikokan in exchange for wood chips as well as an offer to purchase raw pulp from Resolute’s Thunder Bay mill, said Repap’s president, Sean Twomey. Twomey said the mill would be primarily focused on producing heavy kraft paper… He added that the mill could also produce market pulp.

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US-China Trade Tensions Continue to Cloud US Construction Industry Outlook

For Construction Pros
March 20, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, International

The ongoing US-China trade war could significantly impact the US construction industry if no deal between the two countries is reached in the coming months, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company. Many of the Chinese goods, such as steel, aluminium and Canadian lumber, required to construct houses and other buildings in the US are still subject to 10% tariff since last September. Dariana Tani, construction analyst at GlobalData, says… “Even though there are signs that a trade deal between the two countries could be on the horizon, many challenges remain. The longer the existing tariffs remain in place and their effects go on, the more risk the construction industry will experience. In addition, a significant degree of policy uncertainty is threatening growth, investment and productivity in the industry.”

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Boise Cascade reaches agreement to acquire American Lumber Distributors

By Boise Cascade
Global Newswire
March 19, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

BOISE, Idaho – Boise Cascade Company announced today an agreement to acquire American Lumber Distributors and Brokers, Inc., headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. American Lumber is a wholesale distributor of top quality lumber as well as plywood, oriented strand board, James Hardie® Siding and engineered wood products.  “American Lumber is an exceptional supplier of many building products,” said Nick Stokes, executive vice president, Boise Cascade. “With their experienced and knowledgeable team, they will be a great addition to our nationwide distribution network and will enhance our service capacity in the Southeast.”

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Another threat to Oregon’s timber industry

The Editorial Board
The Capital Press
March 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Some folks sure know how to start a conversation. Take, for example, a bill in the Oregon House of Representatives that could lock up more than 1 million acres of Oregon forestland. …Such a “conversation starter” is more like a punch in the nose for the state’s timber industry. Under the bill… the lawsuits would start flying. …It’s clear that this bill, like others making the rounds during the legislative session, is just another anti-logging, anti-jobs and anti-economy measure aimed at shutting down an industry that has been part of the state’s backbone. …Well-managed forests have long been a large part of Oregon’s history — and its future, if the legislature and environmentalists don’t shut it down. …“House Bill 2656 is an unnecessary and extreme solution in search of a problem,” said Mary Anne Cooper, VP Oregon Farm Bureau.

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Georgia-Pacific to invest $30 million in Rome Lumber facility

By Georgia Pacific
Lesprom Network
March 18, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Georgia-Pacific to invest $30 million in its Rome Lumber mill in Georgia, US. The dimensional lumber facility, which currently employs 163 people, will use the investment to purchase and install new equipment in the coming months. This new equipment includes a new planer, grader and trimmer. Along with a new sorter that will serve 65 bays, a significant increase from the current 26 bays. …Preparations for new structures and equipment is beginning now, with concrete work to be underway by June. …The facility will then shut down briefly to initiate and test the new equipment with plans to reopen in early December. This is the largest investment since Georgia-Pacific acquired the facility in 2013 as part of the purchase of International Paper’s Temple-Inland Building Products division. 

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Japan expects to buy less M’sian plywood this year

By Alvin Tang
Sarawak Tribune
March 21, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

KUCHING: Japan expects its imported volume of plywood from Malaysia to further decline this year because of increasing prices. Malaysia, the single largest plywood exporter to Japan, shipped about 1.06 million cu m to that country in 2018, which was a drop of 10.8 percent from 2017. But Japan has imported more plywood from Indonesia, an increase of 11.4 percent to 977,500 cu m in 2018 from 2017. Year-on-year, China recorded a 1.9 percent decline in its plywood exports to Japan at 642,000 cu m. “Indonesian supply was over 900,000 cu m after two years while Malaysian supply was less than 1,100,00 cu m. “Because of high export prices by supplying countries, total volume of imported plywood will drop this year,” according to Japan Lumber Report (JLR),  a trade journal that monitors the Japanese market logs and wood products’ movement.

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