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The AV Terrace Bay pulp and paper mill in Ontario is the community's largest employer. (Archive photo)


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AV Terrace Bay announced a temporary shutdown of its pulp production operations Tuesday, citing current market conditions, forcing the layoff of approximately 400 workers.

Layoff notices began going out Wednesday morning.

Approximately 45 employees will remain on duty to keep the plant operating during the shutdown to facilitate an eventual restart if market conditions improve, according to the press release.

The plant is the largest employer in the town of 1,500 on the north shore of Lake Superior. The company also employs residents of the municipality of Schreiber.

Terrace Bay Township Mayor Paul Malashewski says property taxes paid by the plant represent 40 percent of the taxes collected by the township. It will have a major effect.

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Mr. Malashewski says he has already spoken to a provincial minister about the situation at the plant and his municipality, and is scheduled to speak to Thunder Bay—Superior North MP Patty Hajdu on Thursday afternoon.

It's not just about 400 jobs for Terrace Bay and Schreiber, it also affects surrounding areas in the Superior North region which supply the mill with chips and wood.

A quote from Paul Malashewski, Mayor of Terrace Bay Township

It's a big shock for Terrace Bay, said Gino Leblanc, a former employee of the factory, who is now a grocery store manager. /p>

I have three children and two grandchildren who work in the factory, many of friends. I worked there for 37 years.

A quote from Gino Leblanc, former employee of the AV Terrace Bay factory

According to Mr. Leblanc, the factory had problems with one of its furnaces. What I hear is that there are financial problems, and then there is no one who came to repair the furnace.

The company declined our interview request.

This is the third time that our factory has closed, recalls Gino Leblanc. I was there during the first two closures, he says, specifying that he was also a municipal councilor at the time.

I understand the risks [for the economy of Terrace Bay], what would happen if the factory did not restart, adds Mr. Leblanc.

The first closure to which the former employee refers dates back to 2009. The Buchanan group, which had bought the factory three years earlier, had to place itself under the protection of the courts.

Activities finally resumed in October 2010, after 20 months of inactivity.

More 13 months more late, in November 2011, the factory first announced a three-month shutdown, then put it up for sale in January 2012.

The factory finally resumed operations in July 2012, after being purchased by the Indian group Aditya Birla with the aim of converting the facilities to manufacture rayon fiber.

The conversion did not take place, however, and the factory continued to produce bleached kraft pulp from northern softwoods, which is used, among other things, to manufacture facial tissues.

With information from Orphée Moussongo

By admin

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