National Post


Tembec closing three Quebec mills, affecting 435 workers

Forest products company Tembec Inc. is indefinitely shutting down three of its mills in Quebec amid slumping demand, falling prices and rising raw-material costs, it said yesterday. More than 435 employees will be affected by the shutdowns of the Bearn, Taschereau and La Sarre mills, Tembec said, adding the three facilities have a combined annual lumber capacity of 295 million board feet. Bearn will be idled as of Oct. 9, with the other two mills shutting down on Oct. 13. "This is a very challenging time for lumber producers and for those in Quebec," Tembec said in a press release that complained the price of sawlogs in the province has risen dramatically in recent years. Tembec, which has struggled with weak liquidity, said the mills were also a victim of North American softwood lumber prices that have been driven down in recent months by slowing housing construction demand. Traders say the price of lumber in the United States has also been hit by heavy production from some Canadian mills that are shipping more wood over the border ahead of implementation of the U.S.-Canada softwood lumber agreement. The agreement had been scheduled to go into force on Oct. 1, but that was pushed back to as late as Nov. 1 after some Canadian producers said they needed more time to prepare for implementation.