18 May 2012

Death watch in Corner Brook for province’s last paper mill #nlpoli

Kruger, the owners of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, are reassessing the viability of the mill in the west coast city on Friday after unions at the mill rejected a company proposal to restructure the company’s pension plans.

In a statement issued Friday, natural resources minister Jerome Kennedy said:

We are facing a grave situation, one which could potentially lead to the closure of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Limited. Kruger is now reassessing the viability of its operations in Corner Brook. This obviously could have very serious ramifications for the employees and the entire Corner Brook area.

The provincial government wants the company and the unions to negotiate a settlement to the dispute.

Built in 1923, the mill at Corner Brook was the second paper making operation in Newfoundland after the Anglo-Newfoundland Development Corporation mill at Grand Falls.  AbitibiBowater announced that it would close the mill at Grand Falls in 2008.  The provincial government expropriated the mill and all of AbitibiBowater’s assets in the province before they could shut the mill.  Ab closed its Stephenville operation in 2005.

The Corner Brook mill is heavily subsidised by the provincial government.  It is the largest private sector employer on the west coast of the island.