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Resolute Re-Opens Gatineau Mill with One Machine

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Resolute Forest Products (formerly AbitibiBowater), Montreal, Qué., Canada, reportedly completed the major realignment of its paper mill network and has restarted its Gatineau, Qué., mill. Resolute had closed the Gatineau facility in August 2010, laying off 330 employees. The mill is reopening as a lower-cost operation due to a new labor agreement, the use of a single-paper machine, and a co-generation power plant set to begin operation in June, according to a report this week by The Canadian Press.

The facility will employ 130 workers, down from 330 when it was shut down in April 2010. CEO Richard Garneau said the mill will produce newsprint that can be sold in North America or for export, a market that has grown to represent 47% of sales. "There are a lot of containers that return empty from Montreal to Asia, so one of the advantages we see is the flexibility and opportunity also to ship overseas," Garnerau was quoted in The Canadian Press article.

Although Garneau doesn't foresee other re-openings, he said production could still be tweaked at its 11 mills to adjust to market dynamics. Among the mills that face uncertainty is one in Thunder Bay, Ont., whose 300 employees produce about 500,000 metric tpy of paper and pulp. Resolute last week announced a two-week idling of the remaining paper machine there. But Garneau said the mill's access to only the North American market puts it at risk as newsprint demand continues to fall.


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