Skeena Sawmills is shutting down the mill for a week due to a shortage of logs available for purchase.
The mill announced the temporary closure until May 7 in a press release Tuesday, saying the allowable annual cut provides only half of what they need to operate on one shift.
The other half is purchased locally, but Roger Keery, Skeena’s vice president of operations said strong log export conditions and poor road conditions from a harsh spring breakup have resulted in a significant log shortage for local mills.
“A stable log supply is essential to local jobs, businesses and small communities like Terrace,” said Keery. “But our mill is at a competitive disadvantage as the current rules allow for some logs from the area to be exported before first being advertised to local mills.” Keery further noted that these rules are up for review by the Provincial Government in June.
Resolving the fibre shortage is critical for Skeena to continue to operate at current levels and provide the certainty to invest $40 million planned at the mill over the next few years, Keery said. A major focus of the investment is maximizing value through better use of the resource. Major investments include building a wood pellet plant and modernizing the mill’s operations to take advantage of smaller logs and lower grade pulp logs. The mill predicts investments will double production to 120 million board feet per year and create a second shift at the mill.
“Skeena respects that log exports are an important part of the forest economy on the coast,” said Teddy Cui, president and CEO of Skeena Sawmills. “But providing local mills with equal access to purchase those logs will create the conditions needed for investment and stable employment.”
Skeena Sawmills employs about 100 people in addition to contractors and suppliers.