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Pulp workers to return to Crofton mill, but curtailment of paper operations continues

There's good news and bad news for pulp and paper workers on Vancouver Island.

More than 300 pulp workers at the Crofton, B.C. mill will return to their jobs next month, while their coworkers on the paper-making side will remain out of work.

Mill operator Paper Excellence Canada says pulp manufacturing will resume in mid-October, following a three-and-a-half-month curtailment due to weakening global demand.

However, the curtailment of paper operations at the mill has been extended until at least the end of October.

"In spite of challenges posed by exceptionally low pulp and paper prices driven by global market fluctuations, we are pleased to announce that we are resuming pulp production and reinstating a portion of our workforce at our Crofton mill," Krista Cuddy, the mill's interim director of operations, said in a statement.

"While this is a positive development, we will continue to assess the ongoing viability of maintaining kraft pulp operations at Crofton to ensure it is cost effective to operate and consistent with our overall business strategies."

CTV News obtained a memo from the mill's management to staff saying "there are not sufficient orders or demand to resume paper operations at Crofton," adding the management will "closely monitor these conditions and assess our overall business needs."

In January, the Crofton mill received $14.3 million in federal funding and $4.5 million from the province to upgrade mill equipment and retool machinery to make water-resistant paper products to replace single-use plastics. Top Stories

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