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Category Archives: Business & Politics

Business & Politics

Roofing Manufacturers File Suit Over U.S.-Canada Lumber Clash

Roofing Contractor
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

A trade group has taken its beef with new U.S. duties on Canadian cedar shakes and shingles to the next level and filed a lawsuit at the Court of International Trade. Duties went up as much as 18 percent earlier this year on shakes and shingles produced in Canada and exported to the U.S. Globeinvestor.com reported in June that Canadian makers of cedar shakes and shingles have been forced to scale back and even close mills as a result of the new tariffs. The newly formed Shake and Shingle Alliance trade group…had been trying to make the case that the products are thin enough to warrant tariff exemptions. The U.S. Commerce Dept. ruled in September that isn’t the case. The alliance took its argument to the Court of International Trade with the Nov. 8 filing of its lawsuit. Bloomberg Tax was the first to report on the suit and has posted a copy of the filing here.

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Canada will continue to be a major supplier of softwood lumber to the US in the next decade

By Haken Ekstrom
Wood Resources International
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

Canada will continue to be a major supplier of softwood lumber to the US in the next decade, with the export volume from the Eastern provinces being forecasted to increase substantially, according to a study by ForestEdge and WRI. The softwood sawmilling sector in Eastern Canada will play an increasingly important role as a key supplier to the growing US lumber market in the future, according to a new study. The increasing lumber consumption in the US will also likely result in increased investments in production capacity in the US, changes in Canadian lumber trade flows, a rise in overseas supply, and upward pressure on sawlog prices.

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Canfor Corp. Signs Agreement to Acquire Elliott Sawmilling Co.

By Paul Ploumis
Scrap Monster
November 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, United States

SEATTLE — Canfor Corporation announced that it has reached an agreement to purchase Estill, South Carolina-based Elliott Sawmilling Co., for a price of $110 million. The transaction is subject to completion of certain transaction documents and other customary closing conditions. The company press release noted that the purchase deal is expected to close during the first half of 2019. Upon closing, Canfor aims to acquire 49% on closing, whereas the remaining 51% will be acquired during the second phase, after a year. …Elliot’s high tech southern yellow pine mill, which consists of both large and small log lines, has a capacity to saw 200 million board feet per year. The company offers nearly 180 well-paid jobs in the region. 

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BC forestry’s bull-market ride could soon be over

By Nelson Bennett
Business in Vancouver
November 20, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Hanif Karmally

Until about six months ago, B.C.’s forestry companies were riding a lumber bull market. Record-high lumber prices in the U.S. had muted softwood lumber duties, and B.C. forestry companies were netting record profits. But the party may be over. …The lack of availability of logs was the main driver for us taking the downtime,” said Teal Jones CFO Hanif Karmally. …“When you’ve got scarce fibre, which pushes prices for it up, and then you’re paying duties on top of that, and your market price has declined significantly, that puts companies into the bite,” said Susan Yurkovich, president and CEO of the Council of Forest Industries. …It’s not lower lumber prices in the U.S. so much as high log prices in B.C. “Timber prices in British Columbia are now among the highest in North America,” [West Fraser’s James] Gorman said. …David Elstone, executive director of the Truck Loggers Association, which represents logging companies, said sawmill curtailments will affect loggers, depending on how long they last.

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Scheer ties sawmill troubles to Liberal tail

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
November 19, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Andrew Scheer

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer leveled plenty of blame against the federal Liberals for the woes B.C.’s forest industry is suffering as he paid a visit to Prince George on Monday.  “One hundred per cent,” he said when asked if there is a connection between the curtailments and layoffs the Interior’s lumber producers have recently invoked and Trudeau government policies. Companies have pinned the cutbacks in production on a lack of fibre due to the mountain pine beetle, which ate through roughly half of B.C.’s harvestable timber supply.  But Scheer said the federal government has played a role too and link the issue to Canadian-based producers ongoing quest to expand into the United States.

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Doherty displeased with sawmill cutbacks as issues continue to mount on the industry

By Brendan Pawliw
My Prince George Now
November 19, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Todd Doherty

The recent production cuts to the Conifex and West Fraser facilities across Northern BC and the Cariboo has raised some concern from Federal MP Todd Doherty. The Prince George-Cariboo representative says the industry is in a tough spot and there are many reasons why that is. …The forestry sector across Northern BC is facing some tough times and the sudden changes are creating some nervous moments. …He says it’s hard enough to get families to move up here in the first place, so more effort should be made in keeping them in our region. …Doherty is pointing the finger at Ottawa along with the federal government for not coming to the aid of the forestry sector.

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Editorial: change we can’t ignore

By the Editorial Board
Quesnel Cariboo Observer
November 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

The news this week that West Fraser is permanently getting rid of its third shift in its sawmills here in Quesnel and in Fraser Lake was surprising, and a little scary. With a company the size of West Fraser, it’s easy to feel a false sense of security that these things won’t affect one of our city’s largest employers. But of course, the changes to our environment are having a huge impact on the forestry industry, and West Fraser is not immune to these effects. As West Fraser told the Observer, the production cuts are due to log shortages, not market conditions (although they did concede that travelling farther afield, outside their timber supply area, for logs has become no longer economical as prices rise). And log shortages are due to … Mountain Pine Beetle, as well as the forest fires B.C. has experienced in the last two years.

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Tough times for rural region

By Neil Godbout, Editor-in-Chief
The Prince George Citizen
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Neil Godbout

The last federal census confirmed what is painfully obvious for most longtime residents of the region. Prince George’s population is holding steady and even growing slightly but for hundreds of kilometres in every direction, the rural areas are emptying out, and fast. The news this week was devastating, for Quesnel and Fraser Lake in particular. West Fraser is permanently shutting down the third shift at its sawmills in those two communities, putting 60 employees out of work in Fraser Lake and another 75 in Quesnel. That was the second punch in the gut in as many months for Quesnel. …Factor in the significantly reduced levels of available trees to harvest, a problem that won’t improve for decades thanks to the mountain pine beetle epidemic and the increasing frequency of wildfires, and it becomes easier to understand why B.C.’s forest companies are looking beyond provincial and national borders for business opportunities.

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Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

By Betsy Kline
Castlegar News
November 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Forestry workers across the Kootenays could soon launch rotating strikes as talks between the United Steel Workers and the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association have broken down. Operations in the East and West Kootenay that may be affected by the action include the Interfor Castlegar Sawmill, the Canfor Elko Sawmill, the Canfor Radium Sawmill, Canfor Woodlands, the Galloway Sawmill, Stella Jones Pole Plant in Galloway, and the Louisiana Pacific LVL/Plywood Plant in Golden. Approximately 875 Kootenay workers may be affected.

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Canfor still believes in B.C., CEO says

By Mark Nielsen
The Prince George Citizen
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Don Kayne

Canfor Corp. CEO Don Kayne said Thursday the lumber and pulp and paper producer remains committed to British Columbia despite the company signing a deal to buy a majority stake in a Swedish sawmill company. Kayne said the majority of Canfor’s production continues to be in BC and the company will remain headquartered in Vancouver. Canfor has reach an agreement to buy 70 per cent of Vida Group for about $580 million. The privately-held company has nine sawmills in southern Sweden with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet. Despite the moves, Kayne said the company still remains committed to B.C., where he said the majority of Canfor’s production is still based. …”But our customers are growing and we need to keep pace with them and frankly, that’s the simple fact. …Vida also has nine value-added facilities that include premium packaging, modular housing, industrial products and energy.

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South region forestry workers nearly in legal strike position

By Jordyn Thomson
Vernon Morning Star
November 18, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

According to a Facebook post released by United Steelworkers (USW) president Pat McGregor, the Southern Interior region’s USW operations will be in official strike position on Nov. 21 at approximately 10 a.m. The USW Bargaining Committee resumed talks on Nov. 2 with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA), an organization representing forestry employers. The committee represents USW Locals in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook and Prince George, including 2,600 members in the south region and 2,000 members in the north region. …“After making some very significant moves to break the logjam between the two parties, the industry still insisted on keeping concessions on the table and dictating conditions on bargaining,” said Bob Matters, USW Staff and lead negotiator after three days of mediation in Kelowna.

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Houston sawmill operations curtailed last week

BC Local News
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Lumber production in Houston is already being curtailed following Canfor’s recent announcement. Canfor announced Nov. 1 that lumber production in B.C. would be reduced over the fourth quarter of 2018 through a decrease in operating days. This will be achieved through immediate short-term curtailments at some facilities, along with extended downtime at Christmas. Canfor’s sawmill did not run last week, affecting most of its 319 workers. The mill will also be down on Nov. 16, 23 and 30, 2018. “We are curtailing our operations over the short term due to log supply challenges following another difficult wildfire season, uncompetitive log costs and declining lumber prices,” said Michelle Ward, a spokesperson for Canfor, last week.

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How will the loss of a shift at West Fraser impact the city of Quesnel?

By George Henderson
My Cariboo Now
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Bob Simpson

Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson, while acknowledging the impact on some of the employees at the West Fraser sawmill as a result of a lost shift, says there won’t be a big impact to the city. “There isn’t a net impact on the City’s revenues, because the mill will still be running … so from a financial perspective this does not create any harm to the city’s finances.” We asked Simpson if Quesnel has started making adjustments to the new forest industry. “We started to make the transition adjustments that we’ve needed over the last few years. Unfortunately the previous administrations chose not to do the longer term work… Simpson says West Fraser has indicated to the city that they will be making every effort to accommodate those workers within the West Fraser operations throughout BC

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Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. receives 2018 Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award

By Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc.
Cision Newswire
November 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

CHICAGO –  Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc. has won a 2018 Forest Stewardship Council Leadership Award for its work managing more than 14.5 million acres of FSC-certified forest, the largest contiguous area certified in the world. …”Alberta-Pacific manages the largest contiguous FSC-certified area in the world and our team works hard each and every day to operate in the most environmentally responsible and socially beneficial manner possible.”  The FSC Leadership Award recognizes excellence in the use of FSC certified products and commitment to responsible forest management. These annual awards recognize individuals and organizations dedicated to protecting forests through FSC. …the FSC Leadership Awards continue to recognize excellence in green building, while also celebrating other products, organizations and leaders in the FSC community.

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Rusted disappointed with sawmill curtailments, NDP’s vision on forestry sector

By Brendan Pawliw
My Prince George Now
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

John Rustad

Northern BC MLA John Rustad says it’s disturbing to see the recent sawmill reductions taking place in Quesnel and Fort Saint James. Conifex announced a 15% cut back on lumber production starting November 26th followed by another curtailment on Christmas while the West Fraser outlet will cut a shift impacting 75 workers during the first half of 2019. …BC’s forestry sector has been anything but a priority for John Horgan’s NDP government according to Rustad who teed off on the production reductions in the Nechako Valley and the Cariboo. He believes at the end of the day, it all comes down to cost. “British Columbia needs to take a solid look at our cost structure so that we’re competitive.” 

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Politicians Weigh In On Mill Curtailments

By Cheryl Jahn
CKPG News
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

NORTHERN BC – “We’re in for some trying times.” That’s how MP Todd Doherty described what the sawmilling communities around the region are looking at. …The companies are citing things like log supply due to two major wildfires, log costs, the protracted softwood lumber dispute and current market conditions. But the MLA for Prince George-Mackenzie has some less-than-kind comments for the lumber giants. “The forest companies need to be sympathetic to these communities, understand these communities; it’s not the bottom line for these communities, it’s their life. And for the forest companies to be backing the money that they’ve made over the last number of years, investing heavily into the southern United States with the profits they’ve made from British Columbia, I think they owe an explanation to the British Columbia communities that are being affected by this.”

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All major forest companies in B.C. cut production

By Nelson Bennett
The Prince George Citizen
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Hundreds of sawmill workers are being laid off in B.C., some of them permanently, despite recent record profits made by B.C. forestry companies, which continue to expand south of the border. The problem is not lumber prices or softwood lumber tariffs – although lumber prices have fallen in recent months – but rather high log prices and low supplies in British Columbia, a result of the Mountain pine beetle, which ate through roughly half of B.C.’s harvestable timber supply. All major forestry companies in B.C. have announced curtailments at their B.C. sawmill for the fourth quarter. In the case of West Fraser Timber, the curtailments are permanent. …Meanwhile, Tolko recently announced it is taking a 50% stake in a lumbermill in Mississippi, and Canfor announced November 9 that it is buying a sawmill in Soiuth Carolina for $110 million.

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Canfor to Acquire Majority Interest in VIDA Group of Sweden

By Canfor Corporation
Cision Newswire
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Canfor Corporation announces that it has entered into an agreement to purchase 70% of the VIDA Group of Sweden for a purchase price of 3,990 million Swedish Krona (approximately CAD$580 million) on a cash and debt free basis, which includes CAD$125 million (70%) of normalized working capital. …”With the acquisition of VIDA, we are excited to become a truly international manufacturer and provider of wood product solutions for our global customers,” said Don Kayne, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canfor. “This transformational growth will allow Canfor to further diversify and secure a worldwide fibre supply to meet the growing demand of our customers for high quality wood products.” VIDA is Sweden’s largest privately owned sawmill company, operating nine sawmills with an annual production capacity of 1.1 billion board feet. All of the sawmills produce spruce and pine products, and are strategically located in high quality and sustainable fibre regions of Sweden.

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More thought needed before new sawmill breaks ground in Port Alberni

Letter by Mike Wright
Alberni Valley News
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

It is apparently good news that a new sawmill is coming to Port Alberni. It is interesting to hear the new owners regard Port Alberni as the place “where it all started” insofar as sawmills, logging, and the forestry industry are concerned. That may be of some importance to those with a nostalgic historical bent for the machine age, however it has no resonance for many more, and certainly has no bearing on anything substantial. …It has been suggested that Port Alberni would be better off without courting such heavy industries. I’m not saying this project should not go ahead, it may be the best thing since sliced bread… I think a bit of consideration for the environment and public health is still warranted. Some widening of the discussion is always a good way to obtain the social contract that modern corporations seek before breaking ground.

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West Fraser Announces Production Reduction in British Columbia

By West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.
Cision Newswire
November 13, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

VANCOUVER – Today West Fraser announced it will permanently curtail approximately 300 million board feet of combined lumber production at its Fraser Lake and Quesnel Sawmills.  The curtailment will be realized through the elimination of the third shift at each sawmill. The reduction in lumber production is expected to impact approximately 60 employees at Fraser Lake and 75 employees at Quesnel Sawmill over the first and second quarter of 2019.  The Company expects to mitigate the impact on affected employees by offering them work opportunities at other West Fraser operations. British Columbia faces a well‑documented timber supply shortage owing to the devastating Mountain Pine Beetle infestation.  In anticipation of this decline, West Fraser has invested in excess of $500 million in its B.C. assets to improve the safety and competitiveness of its mills to attain maximum value from the available timber resource.  Today’s decision better aligns West Fraser’s production with current timber supply.

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Miller Western visits Woodlands Council

By Taryn Brandell
The Whitecourt Star
November 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Woodlands County Council received an update from a representative of Miller Western Forest Products regarding haul routes and road maintenance. Lyle Battenfelder, director of finance at Miller Western and Brian Colbourne, operations Supt. at Miller Western, provided council with updates regarding new ownership under Atlas and a project regarding a new crane. …Woodlands County council members expressed concerns they have received from local residents regarding unsafe driving by the company’s log trucks. …Colbourne said that in the last few years, Miller Western has issued GPS units in their log trucks. “It gives us a better ability to track the offenders when we get calls,” he explained.

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Babine mill workers suspend strike

BC Local News
November 12, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada, Canada West

Workers at the Babine Forest Products Mill in Burns Lake have suspended their strike as their union the United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 prepares to enter mediation with management. “We have stopped our overtime and rotating strikes while we’re in mediation with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association,” Brian O’Rourke, President of Local 1-2017 told Lakes District News on Nov. 5. The mediation is scheduled to happen Nov. 14-16 in Kelowna. …Local 1-2017 Vice-President Paul French pointed out that “the union’s 72-hour strike notice is still in effect. We’re in a legal position to call a strike if need be. We’re trying to avoid a strike [but we’re] also showing the seriousness of the situation. We’re not giving away things for free.” “Ideally we would like to have a fair collective agreement that our membership can accept without any concessions on the table,” O’Rourke said.

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Nova Scotia paper mill seeks public help, as actor Ellen Page sends critical tweets

Canadian Press in Global News
November 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A Nova Scotia pulp mill is asking for public support for more time to build an effluent pipeline to the ocean, even as one of province’s best-known Hollywood actors retweets comments critical of the plant.  Kathy Cloutier, a spokeswoman for parent company Paper Excellence, says the Northern Pulp mill is hoping people and groups in the province’s forestry industry will issue public declarations in support of an extension for the effluent pipe project.  She said people who work in forestry realize the major impact if the 330-employee mill can’t operate because it can’t discharge its treated waste into the Northumberland Strait. …Meanwhile, Ellen Page, an actor… tweeted this week in support of Joan Baxter’s book “The Mill: Fifty Years of Pulp and Protest.”

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Northern Pulp expects waste treatment facility won’t be ready by deadline

By Aaron Beswick
The Chronicle Herald
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

The courts could ultimately end up deciding whether the province is on the hook for Northern Pulp’s lost profits if the mill is forced to idle in 2020. On Wednesday Northern Pulp acknowledged that it may not have its new effluent treatment facility operating by Jan. 31, 2020, when provincial legislation forces the closure of Boat Harbour. “The effluent treatment facility itself, the on-land portion, we anticipate being complete by the deadline,” said Kathy Cloutier, director of corporate communications for Northern Pulp owner Paper Excellence. “The discharge outfall is where we face delays.” That outfall, where the mill will pump about 85 million litres of treated effluent daily into the Northumberland Strait, has been a bone of contention. The Pictou Landing First Nation and associations representing some 3,000 fishermen from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island have all said they will stop any effluent entering the strait.

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Nova Scotia pulp mill expected to miss 2020 deadline to close Boat Harbour

Canadian Press in Global News
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

A controversial pulp mill in northern Nova Scotia is facing delays with its new wastewater system, making it likely to miss the provincial deadline of January 2020 to stop using a polluted lagoon. The Northern Pulp mill has been sending untreated effluent to a First Nation reserve for more than half a century, something the province’s former environment minister called one of the worst cases of environmental racism in Canada. Under provincial legislation, the kraft pulp mill has less than 15 months to overhaul how it processes wastewater. Kathy Cloutier, a spokeswoman for Paper Excellence Canada, which owns the Abercrombie Point mill, says the setback is due to a delay with a pipeline.

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Resolute Appoints Remi Lalonde as Chief Financial Officer

By Resolute Forest Products Inc.
Cision Newswire
November 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Remi G. Lalonde

MONTRÉAL – Resolute Forest Products Inc. today announced the appointment of Remi Lalonde as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Lalonde succeeds Jo-Ann Longworth, who will be retiring after a distinguished career, including the past seven years as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Resolute. Mr. Lalonde had been serving as Vice President, Strategy and Corporate Development, since May 2018. Previously, he was General Manager of Resolute’s pulp and paper mill in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Before taking a leadership role in operations, Mr. Lalonde was Treasurer and Vice President, Investor Relations. He initially joined the company as Senior Counsel, Securities, following six years at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York. Mr. Lalonde holds bachelor’s degrees in both law and civil engineering from the University of Ottawa. 

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EACOM millwright shows path for young women interested in skilled trades

By Len Gills
Timmins Press
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Caroline Hurtubise

When Caroline Hurtubise walks across the shop floor, you just might hear a metallic tinkle. It’s … the sound of expensive millwright tools dangling from her work belt. …Hurtubise doesn’t act like it is anything special, but she is a certified Red Seal millwright, meaning she can pretty well walk into any industrial job site in Ontario, do whatever it takes to keep the plant running and get the top wages. It took her 10,000 hours of hands-on training followed by a written exam to achieve that. Hurtubise is back in her hometown of Timmins now working at the EACOM Timber sawmill, the largest and longest-running sawmill operation in the city. …EACOM said Hurtubise is not the first woman to work in the Timmins plant, but they were pleased to say she is the first female millwright there, especially since Canada has just celebrated National Skilled Trades and Technology Week.

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Government of Canada Supports Diversification and Jobs in Quebec’s Forest Industry

By Natural Resources Canada
Cision Newswire
November 13, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

CHAPAIS, QC – Wood innovation has the power to advance the development of Canada’s renewable resource economy and create good jobs while combating climate change. Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced a $15-million investment to help Granule 777 Inc. build the first fully integrated industrial wood pellet and sawmill complex in Canada. On behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), he also announced a repayable contribution of $5 million to enable the company to acquire strategic and innovative production equipment. Granule 777 Inc. received the funding as part of the Government’s commitment to advancing innovative technology in Canada’s forest industry. The funding is provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program and CED’s Quebec Economic Development Program.

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Feds Urged To Reach New Softwood Deal

89.5 the Lake
November 13, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada East, Canada

Stephen Boon

Even though Canada and the United States have reached a new trade deal, 20% softwood lumber tariffs remain in place. Unifor Local National representative Stephen Boon is urging the Canadian government to continue pressing the Trump administration to remove the tariffs. Boon says “we definitely need to get that corrected and I know that’s being processed under Chapter 19 of the new NAFTA deal that has a dispute mechanism where it’s clearly not legal under the rules.” Fortunately, Boon says right now actual mills are still doing fine despite the duties. He says lumber prices are at historic levels, housing starts are at record highs and the Canadian dollar remains in the high 70 cent range.

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Prices for construction materials mixed in October

By Michael Rudy
Multi-housing News
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its producer price index report for October. It showed that overall prices for processed goods for intermediate demand were up by 0.8 percent from September after two months of no change. Prices in October were 5.9 percent higher than a year earlier, in line with the rise seen last month. …The chart illustrates the price changes for softwood lumber, OSB and soft plywood over the past year and a half relative to their prices in January, 2017. It shows that these lumber prices are well off their recent peaks. The chart also makes clear that the large percentage decline in the price of OSB on a year-over-year basis listed in the above table is as much due to the spike in its price a year ago as it is to the recent drop in its price.

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Forest Service chief vows to rid agency of sexual harassment

By Juliet Linderman
The Associated Press in the Miami Herald
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States

Vicki Christiansen

Amid scrutiny stemming from fresh revelations of rampant discrimination, bullying, retaliation and sexual misconduct at the U.S. Forest Service, the agency’s new chief pledged Thursday that she will “do everything in my power to put us on a path to no harassment.” Vicki Christiansen acknowledged to a congressional panel that the Forest Service is in need of a culture change. She pledged to enact new systems and overhaul existing processes to ensure a safe and functional work environment. …Christiansen on Thursday discussed progress made, and laid out her plans to further reform the agency. She said the agency has updated its anti-harassment policy and hired outside contractors to investigate allegations of sexual harassment. Additionally, Christiansen said the agency has created a Work Environment and Performance Office and plans to establish a victim advocacy and support structure.

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Beetle-killed timber presents business opportunities across Colorado Rockies

By Deepan Dutta
Steamboat Pilot & Today
November 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

FRISCO — The mountain pine beetle has devastated one-fifth of Colorado forestland over the past couple of decades, but the lumber and alternative energy industries have been able to make good use of the wood from these blighted forests. Routt, Eagle, Grand and Summit counties were among the hardest hit, with thousands of acres of forest wiped out. The Colorado State Forest Service estimates the mountain pine beetle epidemic killed 3.4 million acres of forest across the state. That’s about 800 million dead trees that are potential fuel for the next wildfire. “These dead trees have provided a large supply of available timber that these local mills,” Granby District forester Ryan McNertney said.

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Boise Cascade will lay off 56

By Johnny Whitfield
The Courier-Times
November 17, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Just weeks removed from the joyous announcement of a new manufacturing facility planned for Person County, another company has announced it will layoff more than half its workforce. Boise Cascade has said it will close one of its two Roxboro divisions, resulting in the layoff of 56 workers in the laminated veneer lumber division. In a press release posted on the company’s website, CEO Tom Corrick said efforts to control expenses in that division had failed. “Unfortunately, despite great effort by the team, we have been unable to reduce manufacturing costs to an acceptable level,” Corrick said. The company will end its laminated veneer lumber production operation Dec. 31.

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Georgia-Pacific Completes $100-Million Lumber Production Facility In Talladega, Alabama

The Virginian-Pilot
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

TALLADEGA, Ala. — Today, Georgia-Pacific celebrated the official start of production at its newest lumber facility in Talladega, Alabama. The $100-million, 300,000-square-foot, technologically advanced plant took nine months to complete. The plant currently employs more than 130 full-time employees and will generate an estimated $5 million in annual payroll. …”Georgia-Pacific’s new lumber facility in Talladega is the company’s eighth location in the state, which further shows that Alabama is a great place to do business,” Governor Ivey said. “Our amiable business climate and unparalleled workforce are why notable companies like Georgia-Pacific continue to do business in our great state.” …The Talladega plant is the first of three new lumber production facilities Georgia-Pacific will be opening in the Southeast by the end of 2019.

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Trade war with China impacting Rayonier Advanced Materials

By Mark Basch
The Jacksonville Daily Record
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Rayonier Advanced Materials says the trade war between the U.S. and China is having an impact on the company. …Rayonier AM Chief Executive Paul Boynton said the threat of tariffs on the company’s high-purity cellulose sales to China seems to be impacting its stock. “We are currently absorbing the 5 percent tariff, equating to about $2 million per quarter, and while we supply these products from our U.S. operations, we’re working with our customers to reposition production of these products outside the U.S. if necessary,” Boynton said. …Rayonier AM had not been in the lumber business since but it picked up seven sawmills in Canada as part of its acquisition of Montreal-based Tembec Inc. last year. …Although the decline in lumber prices may be hurting the stock as Boynton said, Rayonier AM said it expects prices to rebound.

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Deal proposes hurricane recovery money, tax break for tree replanting

By James Salzer
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
November 13, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: US East, United States

Gov. Nathan Deal proposed $200 million worth of income tax credits Tuesday for landowners in southwest Georgia as incentive for them to replant trees destroyed last month by Hurricane Michael. The tax break was part of Deal’s package introduced as state lawmakers convened a special session designed to help fund the cleanup and rebuilding of southwest Georgia after the storm. “We have some important work to do today and this week,” House Speaker David Ralston, R-Blue Ridge, told his chamber as it opened for business. The tax break would aid both timber and pecan farmers who saw their trees destroyed by the storm. State officials said losses from the storm in the agriculture industry alone could reach nearly $3 billion.

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Strongbuild falls as Frasers Property pulls the pin on a major deal

By Tina Perinotto
The Fifth Estate Australia
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Adam Strong

Prefabrication and lightweight timber builder Strongbuild was placed into voluntary administration at 9 am on Thursday morning, after Frasers Australia pulled out of a contract just two weeks from commencement leaving a massive $6 million gap in expected earnings. Strongbuild managing director Adam Strong told The Fifth Estate that a lending facility that had been arranged as working capital was abruptly cancelled. According to Mr Strong, Frasers gave no reason for reneging on the arrangement, other to cite matters of  “convenience”, which triggered the appointment of voluntary administrators Brian Silvia and Andrew Cummins of BRI Ferriers. …It’s understood that already there have been a number of parties showing interest in purchasing the factory, including  “a competitor” and two product manufacturers. Mr Silvia would not say whether Lendlease, which has a prefab timber facility at Eastern Street, was one of the parties.

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China seen as key for reducing illegal logging in Melanesia

Radio New Zealand
November 15, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

PNG is China’s single largest supplier of timber, large quantities of which come from illegal operations. A policy advisor with the environmental and anti-corruption NGO Global Witness says PNG’s government has largely failed to put the interests of landowners who depend on forests ahead of foreign logging interests. Lela Stanley said China holds the key because it purchases at least 85 percent of PNG’s annual log exports. “It’s a similar situation in PNG’s neighbour Solomon Islands. China just has this outsize purchasing power, this outsize influence in the business. “Any changes that it makes in terms of what kind of requirements it places on how timber is produced, how it’s sourced, how it’s checking to make sure it’s been done legally or not, will have a really profound impact.” PNG civil society groups have written to China’s government urging it to regulate illegal wood imports from the country.

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Regional growth loan of $1.9m ensures Taranaki log processor’s long term security

By Mike Watson
Stuff.co.nz
November 16, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Three years ago Taranaki sawmiller Tom Boon was unsure if his company Taranakipine​ would have a secure log supply over the long term following a change of ownership of Te Wera Forest, in east Taranaki. Boon’s doubts were put to rest this week when China Forestry Group Corporation (CFG), which bought the 3500 hectare Te Wera Crown Forest licence in 2016, signed a seven year agreement to supply 100,000 tonnes of logs to Taranakipine. The agreement was boosted by a $1.9 million loan from the Government’s provincial growth fund. About $1.8m of the loan would be spent on buying a new German-made fully automated processor to manufacture laminated floor and ceiling panels for export at the company’s Bell Block site, north of New Plymouth.

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Merger creates timber business with revenues of close to £250m

Insider Media
November 14, 2018
Category: Business & Politics
Region: International

Shefield, UK — Arnold Laver & Co and The National Timber Group have merged to create a timber distribution business with combined revenue approaching £250m and 52 sites across the UK. The transaction is being supported by further investment from Cairngorm Capital Partners. The National Timber Group is a collective of timber distribution companies, which include Thornbridge Sawmills, North Yorkshire Timber and Rembrand. Together they serve customers including joiners, regional housebuilders, commercial companies and infrastructure projects. …Arnold Laver imports, distributes and manufactures a wide range of timber, panels, decorative surfaces and joinery products.

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