Paper Excellence planning to restart long-idled pulp mill in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, within 18 months, producing fluff pulp; non-compete agreement with former mill owner Domtar will be carefully reviewed

LOS ANGELES , December 18, 2013 () – Paper Excellence Canada Holdings Corp. plans to restart its pulp mill in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, within 18 months, producing fluff pulp, said the mill’s Vice President of Operations Dale Paterson, reported The Prince Albert Daily Herald on Dec. 16.

The company recently said it would produce fluff pulp rather than its earlier-planned dissolving pulp (DP) because of the anti-dumping duties being imposed by China on DP imports from Canada, the U.S., and Brazil. As a new DP producer, DP produced at Prince Albert would be subject to the maximum 50% duty.

However, Paper Excellence signed a non-compete agreement in 2011 when it bought the mill from Domtar Corp., which produces fluff pulp along with other pulps and has a personal care business that it considers to be an important growth engine for the company.

Paterson said Paper Excellence would be challenging Domtar in this growth area and that it would review the non-compete agreement very carefully, The Prince Albert Daily Herald reported.

The mill, which produced paper-grade pulp in the past, was shut by then-owner Weyerhaeuser Co. in the second quarter of 2006 and later acquired by Domtar.

When Paper Excellence purchased the mill in April 2011, with plans to convert it to DP, a Paper Excellence executive said it would be reopened by the second quarter of 2012.

About nine months ago Paterson said the mill would reopen within 18 months from then, but that was before the China anti-dumping ruling, which Paterson said “totally destroys” the work that had been under way for the past two years toward converting the mill to production of high-quality DP.

Paterson said the Prince Albert area trees are ideal for producing fluff pulp. He said it would cost C$75 million-C$90 million for the equipment to convert the mill to fluff pulp, similar to the cost for DP equipment, reported The Prince Albert Daily Herald.

The primary source of this article is The Prince Albert Daily Herald, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, on Dec. 16, 2013.

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