PaperAge Magazine

Tolko to Close Kraft Paper Mill in The Pas, Manitoba in December

Tolko kraft paper mill - The Pas Tolko's kraft paper mill in The Pas, Manitoba, produces kraft paper for multiwall shipping bags and other specialty packaging applications.

August 23, 2016 - Tolko Industries yesterday announced that it will close its kraft paper mill in The Pas, in northern Manitoba, Canada, on December 2, 2016.

The pulp and paper mill operation employs 322 people.

“This is not a decision we have entered into lightly,” said President and CEO, Brad Thorlakson. “Over the 19 years we have been in the community, a great deal of work has been done, both internally and externally, to improve the mill's competitive position. Unfortunately, despite years of continued effort to improve the cost structure and business results of the operations, the business is not financially sustainable. This is a business decision that is in the best long-term interest of the company and our employees.”

Thorlakson noted that the decision is in no way a reflection of the people, community or local and provincial governments who have played such an important role in the operation over the years.

“We have valued our time in The Pas and have great respect for the community and our employees who have been with us on every step of this journey. We understand that this will be a very difficult time for them and the community, but we cannot continue to sustain the losses at the operation.”

According to an online report by the Winnipeg Free Press, The Pas mill produced and shipped 164,000 tonnes of kraft paper in 2014 — 15 percent of it was sold into the domestic market, 33 percent shipped to the U.S., 18 percent to Mexico, and 34 per cent overseas.

The kraft paper produced by the mill is used to make multiwall shipping sacks for sugar, seed, feed, potatoes, cement, among other specialty packaging products.

Jim Baskerville, Vice President of OSB and Kraft Papers said that employees have been informed of the decision.

“[On Aug. 22] we have issued notice to employees, and we are working through the details of a transition package,” he said. “We anticipate full details to be available to employees the week of September 6th and, as the closure process is not immediate, we will have time to ensure any questions or concerns around the transition package are addressed before operations conclude on December 2nd.”

Baskerville also reaffirmed Tolko's commitment to customers of the Manitoba operation. “I want to assure our customers that our fibre supply is secure and we are well equipped to fulfill our commitment to customers until closure is complete.”

Tolko purchased the Manitoba Kraft Paper and Sawmill Operations in 1997.

SOURCE: Tolko Industries and Winnipeg Free Press