Tbnewswatch Local News
Sunday July 5 2015
5:03 PM EDT
2014-05-06 at 14:57

Resolute Forest products permanently shutters Fort Frances mill

By Leith Dunick, tbnewswatch.com

Stephen Boon calls Resolute Forest Product’s decision to permanently close its Fort Frances pulp and paper mill a “final major blow” to the community.

Boon, Unifor’s national representative in Dryden, said workers have done everything they can to help the company work through financial difficulties, including agreeing to wage, benefit and pension cuts, but it wasn’t enough.

“We all hoped these difficult employee sacrifices, the abundance of quality wood fibre and necessary capital investment to reposition the Fort Frances site specifically related to the kraft mill,” Boon said.

The majority of the mill’s workforce was terminated on March 12, he went on to say, adding the union has been preparing its members for Tuesday’s announcement in the interim.

“With this decision to now permanently close the Fort Frances mill, we will now work to ensure Resolute follows through on its commitment to provide new job opportunities for affected Frances employees at the soon be to opened sawmills in Atikokan and Ignace."

The company confirmed the closure in a release issued to media on Tuesday. In January it announced an extended shutdown of its final paper machine. In November 2012 the company idled a kraft pulp mill and another paper machine.

"We tried hard to find a way to reposition these assets, particularly the pulp mill. But unfortunately, due to end product markets, the mill's operational configuration and its cost position, we've concluded that there was no economically viable option for the pulp and paper operations at Fort Frances," said Richard Garneau, president and chief executive officer.

The company said terminated workers will be considered for positions at the multi-national company’s other facilities.

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We've improved our comment system.
Eastender says:
Yes, of course, Thunder Bay needs to attract new industry and viable economic activity. The problem seems to be that nobody is coming up with any real ideas as to what? And how?
The writing on the wall is obvious. Government cant bouy up our economy forever with tax funded construction programs that lead nowhere. They tried with popsicle stick factory, and we know what happened.
Now they think an entertainment factory at the waterfront will be our saviour. Dont get your hopes up!

5/8/2014 9:40:06 AM
tsx says:
Been through that one before, the best thing for employees to do is don't sit around and waste time collecting pogey, just go find another job or career.
5/7/2014 12:37:10 PM
NorthernGuy says:
@Editw - Why would Bill and Micheal go to Fort Frances? Sara Campbell is the MPP for Fort Frances.
5/7/2014 11:21:28 AM
fastball says:
Anyone who thinks that Thunder Bay is immune to this scenario is naive to the point of delusional.
Thunder Bay needs to diversify and attract more types of industry in this day and age.
5/7/2014 7:46:48 AM
Sands says:
No T.V. cameras there so Bill and Mike had no reason to show up!
5/7/2014 5:39:06 AM
tsb says:
Is the phonograph manufacturer still going? Maybe we can score a Model T plant, or a firm that designs those new fangled Facsimile Machines!
5/6/2014 10:35:43 PM
Ed itw says:
Where are Bill and Mike today?
5/6/2014 7:24:42 PM
yqtyqt says:
Not in Fort Frances for a photo op. I know that much.

5/7/2014 8:58:10 AM
dockboy says:
I've been there, it's been 23 years. I know what you're going through, hang tough.
5/6/2014 4:20:55 PM
reese says:
Resolute dont give a hoot
I hope they pay there sub contractors and creditors other wise the taxpayer will be on the hook again
5/6/2014 3:47:01 PM
progress now says:
I agree.

Still, pulp and paper mills, mines...they don't last forever. That is a problem that we in the North are particularly vulnerable to.

5/6/2014 4:20:44 PM
Me n My Opinion says:
That's a great point. I've said all along that the City has to keep pushing down the road it had started to push down a couple years ago, and focus on the knowledge based industry. It's the only thing that is sustainable for a city in our geographic location. Natural resources are great, but will all end at some point. Slow and steady growth in knowledge is what will keep the city on an even keel. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of opportunity in natural resources, but when it ends, let's make sure we're diverse enough with a solid sustainable base that the hit is a little less severe. Don't sacrifice the long term goal for the allure of big short term gain. Work to make them happen simultaneously. Spread the eggs out - don't keep them all in one basket.
5/7/2014 3:34:00 PM
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