We informed employees at our Baie Comeau, Alma and Amos paper mills today that extended or temporary periods of market-related downtime will be required this fall:
- An extended period of market-related downtime for two of three machines at the Baie Comeau newsprint mill, as of November 30;
- The 30 day idling of the Amos newsprint mill, as of October 31; and
- A four week idling of one of three machines at the Alma specialty paper mill, consisting of two weeks in October and two weeks in December.
The decrease in paper consumption in North America, the ongoing lack of fiber supply in Quebec, and high fiber costs—particularly in Quebec’s Côte-Nord region—are all factors that led to this decision.
The significant decline in wood chip deliveries from external suppliers at the Baie Comeau mill and the spread of spruce budworm are additional challenges for this facility. Steps taken since the beginning of the year to offset the wood chip supply shortage have allowed for a certain production level to be maintained. Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to source the required inventories at a competitive price.
The Baie-Comeau mill currently has 298 employees and an annual production capacity of 463,000 metric tons of newsprint. Approximately 80 employees will be affected by this announcement.
We are working to mitigate the effects of this decision on our employees, their families and the community. We are reaching out to union representatives, government officials and community leaders to provide affected employees the support they need. Applicable terms of the collective labor agreements will be adhered to, and efforts will be made to reassign as many employees as possible to other Company operations.