Fortress Paper Starting up DP Conversion at Quebec Mill

Fortress Paper Ltd., Vancouver, B.C., Canada, reports that it has initiated the final stages of its Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill conversion project. The mill has begun the startup phase with final process testing, which includes cold and hot water trials, together with the testing of safety systems scheduled to occur over the coming days. Production of dissolving pulp beginning with wood chips cooking is expected to commence shortly thereafter.

The company notes that minor delays in completing the project resulted from an unexpected walkout in October by contractor construction employees, the extra time subsequently required after return of the workers to fully ramp-up construction activities at the site, completion of infrastructure improvements to buildings, supports, and the chip tower inter-connection, and enhancements to the mill's safety and control systems.

Chad Wasilenkoff, chairman and CEO of Fortress Paper, said that "we look forward to the imminent production of dissolving pulp, which will signify an important milestone in the history of Fortress Paper. We believe that the implementation of supplemental process control testing will provide for a more efficient ramp-up to commercial production."

Completion of the conversion project is currently on budget, Fortress notes, with the exception of costs related to the construction worker walkout, which remain to be quantified. The cogeneration project at the mill is proceeding on schedule, and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2012.

Fortress Paper is a producer of security and other specialty papers and products. The company operates three mills—the Landqart Mill in Switzerland, the Dresden Mill in Germany, and the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill in Quebec, Canada. Fortress Paper's security papers include banknote, passport and visa papers and its specialty papers include non-woven wallpaper base products, and graphic and technical papers. The company's pulp business includes specialty pulp produced at the Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill, which is currently in the process of converting this capacity into dissolving pulp production along with the construction of a biomass based cogeneration plant.