The recent announcement of the Tolko lumber mill closure in Quesnel this fall is not a surprise considering the imminent shortage of logs due to beetles and wildfires.
With the anticipated loss of lumber production one would assume a loss of wood chips for the pulp and paper industry would mean mill closures here as well.
Some recent announcements of pulp mills would seem to indicate otherwise, so what is happening? Last fall the premier noted that the recent sale of three paper mills was a vote of confidence in the industry and people of B.C.
Investments and acquisitions have been taking place in all of the western provinces with emphasis on pulp mills producing a wide variety of heavy paper products.
When we talk about reducing the use of paper and we push for paperless offices and we note the decline in newspaper print and push toward online media, one would suspect a future decrease in the pulp and paper industry.
While the younger generation no doubt favours the digital media there are still enough people who like printed material to make hard copies a significant product. Based in the volume of flyers with the local newspapers it appears that business feel paper advertising is still worth the expenditure.
It doesn’t hurt that we won a small victory when a U.S. International Trade Commission overturned duties on Canadian newsprint.
No doubt the pressure on using less plastics (especially single use plastic straws, stir sticks, bags etc.) may be providing more options for paper based products as well.
According to a study of world consumption by Chester Cheng, Manager at Paper Industry, the tonnage of paper being produced per year for packaging (such as boxes), and hygiene (tissue) is growing at a steady clip.