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Unifor concerned over fibre access in mill sale

By Adam Riley Jun 1, 2023 | 12:29 AM

Undated Photo of the pulp and paper mill owned by Resolute Forest Products in Thunder Bay

Union officials say they believe there is some potential opportunity for the soon to be new owner of Resolute’s Thunder Bay pulp and paper operations.

On Tuesday it was announced Atlas Holdings had entered into a purchase agreement with Resolute.

However Unifor National Representative Stephen Boon has some reservations regarding fibre supply.

“Traditionally in this type of a situation the pulp mill would transfer ownership and maintain the wood supply basket and so you have that security and certainty. This is a little bit of a different scenario.”

That scenario is that Resolute will retain the wood rights, as it will continue to operate three sawmill operations, in Thunder Bay, Ignace and Sapawe respectively.

This would create four players in the pulp and paper industry according to Boon, with Resolute, Atlas Holdings, AV Terrace Bay, and soon to be First Quality Enterprises, who is in the works to purchase the pulp mill in Dryden, with three wood supply baskets.

Meaning in Thunder Bay there would be two companies instead of one according to Boon.

“That adds a little bit more of a ripple in the sense of in who you’re dealing with and what the prospects are when you’re meeting with the company., because the Thunder Bay mill pulp and paper operations aren’t necessarily going to be able to speak on all the developments in terms of their wood supply.”

240 Unifor members work in the mill itself with another 40 on the paper machines.

This deal is expected to close later this year and Bood expects Unifor and Atlas Holdings will be meeting sometime this summer to discuss the issues and concerns.


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