IGNACE, Ont. — A prolonged shutdown of the Resolute Forest Products sawmill at Ignace will be extended through the winter.
The town's mayor and the Steelworkers union both say Resolute has indicated the mill will not resume operations before next spring.
When a two-month shutdown began last April, the company said it was because of a shortage of logs that resulted from wet conditions in the bush over a period of many months.
In June, Resolute said an issue with the sawmill's kilns and deteriorating market conditions would keep the mill closed until July, and the kilns out of service until September.
However, the mill remained shut down through the summer and into the fall.
Jason Lacko, a representative of the Steelworkers union, says 52 of his members are affected.
"It's still a market issue for Resolute from what I've been told, and I haven't been told anything other," Lacko told Tbnewswatch on Wednesday.
He said that, given the length of the shutdown, "we're gonna lose some valuable workers" because they have been forced to find jobs elsewhere.
Ignace Mayor Donald Cunningham said he's not happy about the situation, but "the good part of the bush workers are still working. The wood is still moving, so that's good."
Cunningham added that he'd prefer that the wood was going to Ignace rather than to other mills. "We're hoping that it will start back up in the spring and our people can get back to work."
The mayor said the town has contacted Kenora-Rainy River MPP and Northern Development Minister Greg Rickford about the situation.
Resolute has not yet responded to a request from Tbnewswatch for information about its plans.
Market conditions have been blamed by other forestry companies for the shutdown of numerous mill and woodlands operations in British Columbia this year, affecting hundreds of workers.