Weyerhaeuser focused on sustainability through provincial crisis in forest sector

In an industry that is experiencing plant closures and uncertainty, Princeton’s Weyerhaeuser Mill is holding its own.

“Like all Weyerhaeuser mills, our strategy at Princeton is to stay focused on what we can control,” said general manager Jeff Larsen.

The mill has approximately 200 direct employees and works with about 200 contractors in forestlands.

“I’m extremely proud of the work our people do every day to help position this mill to be as successful as possible,” said Larsen.

“We’re focused on operational excellence to ensure our cost structure is as competitive as possible under any market conditions. This includes making sustainable cost reductions, investing in high-return capital projects, and driving value, recovery and reliability improvements across our system.”

This year more than 20 mills across the province have curtailed operations, including some which closed permanently, impacting approximately 4,000 jobs.

Related: 21 Northern B.C. mayors urge Ottawa to help struggling forest industry

“We are seeing a critical time in the B.C. forest sector,” said Mina Lauden, vice-president of public affairs for the B.C. Council of Forest Industries.

“The circumstances that have led to this crisis are a perfect storm of conditions which have been building for many years, most notably a reduction in timber supply after the mountain pine beetle and several years of devastating wildfires in the B.C. Interior.”

Volatile lumber prices, rising log costs, and diminished availability have resulted in cuts and layoffs in other communities.

“Many operations are simply uneconomic, which is forcing difficult decisions to close, or curtail, production in order to rebalance mill capacity with available fibre supply. With these decisions, communities and employees are being impacted.”

Related:Okanagan MLAs urge the provincial government to step up forestry management

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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