Thunder Bay

Resolute halts last paper machine at Fort Frances mill

Resolute Forest Products has announced the indefinite shutdown of a paper machine at its mill in Fort Frances.
In 2014, Resolute Forest Products said it was closing the Fort Frances mill as a result of poor market conditions. In 2018, Repap Resources Group entered into negotiation to buy, and restart the mill. (Supplied)

Resolute Forest Products has announced the indefinite shutdown of a paper machine at its mill in Fort Frances.

This latest news means the whole mill will be virtually shut down, as pulp production was already stopped.

The shutdown takes effect at the end of the month.

The company reports 150 workers will be impacted. Notices were given out on Tuesday.

Resolute said the shutdown is a result of poor market conditions, but company president Richard Garneau said the paper machine will be kept ready for future operation.

Inventories that remain will be removed and either transported to other Resolute locations or disposed of in an environmentally responsible way, the company stated in a press release Tuesday.

In the meantime the company said it is looking for alternative products for its Fort Frances operation, especially related to the pulp mill.

The company said it won’t provide notice to salaried employees, stationary engineers and certain maintenance employees, as well as woodlands employees.

Union reaction

A national representative with Unifor, the union representing workers at the mill, said the mill has gone through a lot of turmoil in the last year.

"I mean last February the kraft mill and one of the paper machines was shut down," Stephen Boon said.

"So it's a continuation of the bad news for our members, for their families and, obviously, for the community."

Resolute stated that it would work with affected employees, all levels of government and other local authorities on programs to lessen the impact of the work shortage. The company said affected employees will be considered for job vacancies and opportunities at other company facilities.

Three other Resolute projects are underway in northwestern Ontario, including a new sawmill in Atikokan, the upgrade and restart of its idled Ignace sawmill, and the lumber production capacity increase and building of a wood pellet plant at its Thunder Bay sawmill.


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