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West Fraser closes B.C. sawmill
[Feb  6, 2024]

West Fraser Timber is permanently closing down its sawmill in Fraser Lake, British Columbia.

The Canadian lumber production giant said the decision is a result of its ¡°inability to access economically viable fiber in the region.¡±

The mill¡¯s closing will impact 175 employees, the company said. West Fraser noted that it expects to mitigate the impact on affected employees by providing work opportunities at other company operations.

¡°We do not make these decisions lightly¡±, said Sean McLaren, West Fraser president and CEO. ¡°We know this announcement has a significant impact on our employees, their families, our suppliers, and the local community, who all rely on a healthy forest industry.¡±

The mill closure will reduce West Fraser¡¯s Canadian lumber capacity by approximately 160 million board feet.

In January, the company announced that it was closing its sawmill in Maxville, Florida and indefinitely curtail operations at its sawmill in Huttig, Arkansas.

¡°Today¡¯s announcement, combined with our recent decision to indefinitely curtail operations at Huttig, Arkansas and close our sawmill in Maxville, Florida better align our capacity with demand and available sources of economic fiber,¡± said McLaren. ¡°We believe these initiatives, along with the decision to divest three pulp assets and acquire Spray Lake Sawmills in 2023 make West Fraser stronger through the cycle.¡±

West Fraser anticipates recording restructuring and impairment charges of approximately $81 million in the fourth quarter of 2023 related to facility closures and curtailments due to availability of economic fiber sources in British Columbia.

West Fraser is a diversified wood products company with more than 60 facilities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.