The Dryden Observer

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Ear Falls sawmill faces indefinite shutdown

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.

It’s another stroke of bad luck for a community who could use some good news.
Domtar announced early this week that they will suspend their Ear Falls sawmill operations indefinitely, affecting as many as 130 workers. Related forestlands round wood harvesting activity in the Trout Forest will also be affected.
Chipping and road construction work also occurring in the Trout Forest related to Dryden’s pulp operations will continue.
Citing a collapse in demand in the lumber market, an unfavourable Canada/U.S. exchange rate and high input and operating costs, the forest products company made the Ear Falls announcement just a week after workers returned to the sawmill from a four-month shutdown.
“This is all about customer demand and the economic downturn in the United States,” said Domtar spokesperson Bonnie Skene. “That’s the primary market for the lumber produced in Ear Falls. There are a number of things that need to come together in order to position it to start up. A lower exchange rate isn’t a silver bullet, but it would help. Really, the big one is customer demand and we’re continuing to work on reducing manufacturing costs.”
The mill will maintain operations into October.
“The suspension is scheduled to start in October and it will be a phased shutdown,” said Skene. “The reason that we’re announcing it so far out is to provide employees with a notice period and to process the existing log inventory that’s in the yard.”

-Chris Marchand

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