The ICFPA is pointing to the Canadian industry's environmental credentials in its 2013 Sustainability Progress report.
In early April, Richard Garneau, CEO of Resolute Forest Products, talked investment, certification, and recruiting.
Forest equipment manufacturers are taking advantage of Elmia Wood 2013 to introduce their new products and equipment for the industry.
EACOM Timber’s Nairn Centre focuses on recovery gains to capture the most from improving markets.
QFIC unveiled a study at its recent annual meeting showing the province has the highest log costs in North America.
What's Happening in our Forest?...
What's Happening in our Forest?
New VAB Lineal Grading Optimizer at Sexton Lumber...
New VAB Lineal Grading Optimizer at Sexton Lumber
Eltec harvester at work in the Quebec forest...
Eltec harvester at work in the Quebec forest
USNR log loader minds log gap, improves throughput...
USNR log loader minds log gap, improves throughput
June 18, 2013 – Pikangikum has been issued a Sustainable Forest Licence (SFL) for the Whitefeather Forest – the only SFL granted to a First Nation community in the Far North. Through this agreement, Ontario and Pikangikum First Nation will work together to develop the forestry sector, create jobs and boost the local economy. Under the terms of the licence, Whitefeather Forest Community Resource Management Authority (WFCRMA) will be responsible for implementing a Forest Management Plan, which includes strategies for harvesting and building access roads, monitoring and reporting on compliance, as well as sustainably managing area trees, plants, animal life, water, air and soil. Supporting greater Aboriginal involvement in the forestry sector is part of the Ontario government's plan to create a prosperous economy and a fair society for all. Facts The Whitefeather Forest is an 11,749-square-kilometre area in northwestern Ontario, located approximately 80 kilometres east of the Manitoba border and 90 kilometres north of the Town of Red Lake. In 2006, Pikangikum First Nation and Ontario approved “Keeping the Land,” a community-based land-use strategy for the Whitefeather Forest that supports both protected areas and opportunities for economic development, including forestry.
June 16, 2013 - It hasn’t been easy for James Tompkins and the Highland Pulp crew. Nova Scotia’s forest industry has been challenged by disease, declining markets and tough government regulations. But the team at the Truro-based pulp wood provider just celebrated 50 years in business, and was awarded the Atlantic Contractor of the Year award in the same year. Founded in 1962 by James’ dad in Cape Breton, Highland Pulp began cutting wood to feed Nova Scotia Pulp in Point Tupper, located south of Port Hawkesbury near the bridge to mainland Nova Scotia. In 1983, James’ dad passed away, leaving James, along with brothers Robert and Kevin, to take over the operation. Prior to 1983, the budworm had hit the highlands pretty hard, and the company considered relocating in order to find better opportunities. After nearly 30 years in Cape Breton, the company relocated its operation to Truro in 1989 and began cutting wood for area sawmills using a couple of Valmet 901 harvesters and a couple of Valmet forwarders. In 2007, when Newpage purchased the former Nova Scotia Pulp site, then owned by Stora Forest Industries, Highland Pulp went back to cutting pulpwood to supply the mill. Unfortunately, Newpage was unsuccessful at the Point Tupper site, filing for bankruptcy in September of 2011. That caused Highland to once again search for new opportunities. “When Newpage went into receivership we worked for Bowater,” said Tompkins. “We worked for them for a few years. Now we’re back with Port Hawkesbury Paper now that Resolute is gone.” During the lean period between 2006 and 2008, when many companies in Atlantic Canada either downsized or shut down due to slumping lumber demands, Highland was still able to find work. “We were lucky enough to have work year-round through most of those years even though things were tough,” said Tompkins. “We were able to move back and forth with Resolute and with Newpage, and we cut some biomass in that time as well.” Managing equipmentAnother big reason Highland was able to survive the recent downturn was its ability to manage equipment costs. “We were lucky that we had a lot of machinery that was already paid down, so our debt was low,” said Tompkins. Highland did shed one asset during the slow period though. In 2007, the company sold its log trucks, now hiring independent owner/operators to haul the work from their plots. That sale freed up some much-needed capital, and helped free up more maintenance time for the operation’s other machinery. Now that it is out of the downturn, the company has once again started looking at machinery for its operation. In the past two to three years, the company has purchased a couple of machines, but rather than invest in new machines, management have looked to the quality machines available on the used market. That includes buying from contractors that are shutting down operations or upgrading to newer technologies, as well as keeping an eye on what’s available in Ritchie Bros. auctions. “There has been a draw on machine operators going west to places like Fort McMurray,” said Tompkins. “There are some guys that are at a stage in their career that if they lose an operator, rather than train someone else from scratch, they’ll downsize.” The more recent purchases include a Cat TK711 harvester with a Logmax head, which Tompkins bought from a contractor who was downsizing his operation. Tompkins already had a TK711 in his fleet, so he was familiar with how to maintain the new machine. Tompkins’ crew have five harvesters: the two TK711s, a Tigercat 845, a Tigercat 845 that he bought three years ago at auction, and a Ponsse Ergo. Tompkins runs the two Tigercats and the two Cats for two shifts per day, and the Ponsse for just one shift per day. Tompkins has also had good luck purchasing forwarders from the used market. When a Tigercat 1014 became available at auction, he looked at the possibility of picking it up to provide parts for the two other 1014s Highland already had in its stable of equipment. It turned out that he was able to clean up the machine and start using it, providing even better value for his purchase. His fourth forwarder is an EcoLog, which he purchased when Rocan Forestry went into receivership. Making its cutIn 2013, Tompkins is hoping that his equipment will allow him to meet his own expectations of 100,000 m3 cut. That number is higher than what Highland has cut in the past few years, but Tompkins hopes that some additional private wood sources will allow him to reach that goal. “We used to buy a lot of private wood at one point, up to about 40 per cent seven or eight years ago,” explained Tompkins. “And then we went to a point where we didn’t buy any private wood. Working with Port Hawkesbury Paper now, they would like us to find 20 per cent.” Finding wood to cut has often been the challenge for Highland. In 2012, the company worked anywhere from Cape Breton (the closest point is 170 kilometres east-northeast of Truro) to Digby, which is close to 300 kilometres southwest of Truro. Those distances add significant costs to the operation. Company policy is that anything within a 90-minute driving distance of Truro is same-day travel, but anything outside of that requires accommodations. That also means reducing the amount of cutting done in a week, as Tompkins runs four day shifts and four night shifts while on the road in order to save the cost of housing that comes with a fifth day shift. The wood cut by Highland is primarily softwood based on the needs of its agreement with Port Hawkesbury Paper. Any hardwood that is cut becomes a byproduct, often sold to firewood suppliers in the area. The wood is all CTL off the stump using harvesters but no bunchers. They also cut some shelter woods, a practice that could become common for Highland. Securing the next generationThe Tompkins brothers are already hard at work trying to secure and train the next generation of their crew in Truro. Two of James’ sons are working for Highland, one as a technician and the other as a heavy equipment mechanic apprentice.The age of James’ children has also helped them land other forestry students and graduates, ones who are interested in staying in the area. “If you can find work most of the year and keep them all busy even when times are tough, I think that helps keep the guys here.” Still, the appeal of Western Canada can be quite strong. It’s an opportunity for young people on the east coast to get away from home, explore a new part of the country, and of course, make good money in the process. “There’s a wage difference between the east coast and the west coast and I think that’s the draw to the west.” But with the strength of Highland’s business, and the fact that they were able to survive through the downturn just a few years ago, they have become an appealing destination for young forestry workers in the area. A thriving new generation of workers isn’t the only reason for optimism at Highland. The announcement earlier this year that Nova Scotia Power will be burning wood instead of coal at its Port Hawkesbury power station could provide some stability for the market. “If a large portion of the supply contract goes to Port Hawkesbury Paper, it could help stabilize our business.”
June 17, 2013, Levis, Que. – VAB Solutions signed a contract covering the sale and installation of a complete Planer Mill Lineal Grading Optimizer for an Eacom Timber Corporations Mill located in Val-d'Or northern Quebec. "This new equipment at the cutting edge of the technology will enable Eacom Timber Corporation to increase its production efficiency by increasing their productivity and the quality of their product, "says Jean Berube, president of VAB Solutions.
June 16, 2013 - In early April, Richard Garneau, CEO of Resolute Forest Products, addressed Toronto’s prestigious Empire Club, regaling the urban audience with tales of forest certification, energy efficiency, industry integration and renewable energy. Canadian Forest Industries sat down afterwards to ask a few questions of our own. What is the latest on Resolute’s planned sawmill in Atikokan, and what role will this facility play in the company’s future?Have the technology or equipment vendors been selected? We are very pleased to be able to go ahead with this project, which will allow us to optimize the fibre in the area. This $50-million dollar project is going to employ about 90 people. What is interesting about the Atikokan sawmill project is that First Nations are going to be a key part of it. There are opportunities for jobs and additional business, such as residual chip transportation and wood waste. There are seven First Nations communities involved, and this is a new approach for Resolute to get closer to First Nations. We’re looking at options to reposition our Fort Frances paper mill. Obviously, any pulp and paper mill that has residual chips from sawmills has an advantage. Eventually, depending on how successful we are in identifying new products, I think the sawmill is going to solidify the Fort Frances paper mill. As far as plans for the new sawmill, we have equipment that we removed from our Nova Scotia mill that we are going to reuse, as well as surplus equipment from other mills. We are very confident that, with the technology that is going to be installed at this random length mill and our expertise on the lumber side, this is an opportunity to improve the profitability of our sawmill business. Are there plans for upgrades at any of Resolute’s other mills?We’re always looking for opportunities, including new technologies, such as biofuel. We have a wood pellet project that is going ahead in Thunder Bay. We are also looking at ways to use the lignin from our mills, working with FPInnovations. It’s going to take time, but I think within the next five years we’re going to see products that we’re going to be able to sell on the market, and I think it’s a peek into the future for the forest products industry. With demand for lumber in the U.S. on the rise, how does Resolute plan to meet this need? Does the company have some elasticity in its current production levels and fibre supply?I don’t think there is much more additional wood that we can get. We’re going to have to optimize the wood allocation that we have and make sure that our sawmills, through wood recovery, use less fibre to produce a thousand board feet of lumber. We are also going to restart the Ignace sawmill in Northwestern Ontario. As well, instead of chipping wood in the bush, we’re going to bring the logs to our sawmills and have residual chips for our paper mills in Fort Frances and Thunder Bay, which we feel is the optimal way to use the fibre allocation. Most of the mills that remain open are now among the most competitive in the North American industry, and with active involvement and support from employees at all levels and from the communities where we operate, we intend to be around for the long term. What are the biggest issues facing Resolute when it comes to sustainability and how it affects its operations as a for-profit business?Resolute will continue to have a strong commitment to sustainable forest management. When you look at certification, we had a commitment to get to 85% FSC-certified by 2015 and we are already at 65%. We are now the largest FSC certificate holder in the world. We have also made a commitment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. As part of that, we joined the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Savers program, through which we have committed to reduce absolute greenhouse gas emissions by 65% by 2015, compared to our 2000 emission levels. So far, we’ve succeeded in reducing our absolute emissions by over 62%, so we’re well on track. The fibre use in our Canadian products originates mainly from the boreal forest, which is among the most carefully managed forests in the world. In fact, a Yale University study singled out Canada’s forestry laws and regulations as being among the most stringent in the world. It’s also worth mentioning that less than a quarter of 1% of the boreal is affected by harvesting each year. In Ontario last year we planted our one billionth tree – that’s billion with a “B”, same as the deficit. And that number doesn’t include reforestation achieved by things like aerial seeding and natural regeneration. As an industry, since 1990, we have invested $9 billion in becoming even greener. Today, roughly 75% of the paper being used in Canada is recovered. As well, integration between pulp and paper mills and sawmills allows us to optimize the use of the fibre that is harvested. Resolute is also committed at all levels to improved energy efficiency, the use of hydroelectricity, and switching from fossil fuels to cleaner renewable energy sources like carbon-neutral biomass. In fact, around 70% of our energy requirements come from renewable sources. We also use alternative fuels like methane from landfills, used oil and tire-derived fuel. As production ramps up, the industry is concerned with attracting and retaining talent. What steps is Resolute taking to be an employer of choice? Are there certain sectors of the population that you think Resolute, or the industry in general, should be targeting? We know that the forest industry provides livelihoods for thousands of families and a viable economic future for communities across the boreal. In many of these communities, Resolute’s operations are the anchor for the local economy. We’re going to hire approximately 2,000 new employees to replace retiring workers over the coming years. We have programs to attract new employees, but the difficulty over the last few years was that people looking at the forest products industry were asking, “Are they going to survive?” Now that we are on track and companies are profitable, people see that there is a future. Our initiatives to involve First Nations will ensure they will have the skills necessary to have a successful future with our company. That’s why we have partnerships with numerous First Nations groups near our operations that aim to ensure co-operative forest management and even business partnerships. In Thunder Bay, for example, we have had a partnership with the Fort William First Nation since 2003 related to a sawmill that employs over 170 people. In Atikokan, this new $50-million facility will create approximately 90 jobs in the community, with additional employment associated with construction, as well as indirect positions for hauling lumber and residual wood chips when the project is completed. I am particularly pleased with the direct involvement of First Nations, and the opportunity for shared economic benefit that this represents.
June 18, Wash. – Nationwide housing starts rose 6.8 per cent to 914,000 units in May, due mostly to increased production on the multifamily side, according to new data from the HUD and U.S Census Bureau. "The outlook for housing continues to brighten as builders respond to increased demand for new homes and rental apartments," says Rick Judson, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman. "While challenges with regard to the cost and availability of building materials, lots and labor are still keeping the pace of improvement in check, both builders and consumers are more confident about their prospects in the current marketplace." While single-family housing starts held at a solid but virtually unchanged pace of 599,000 units in May, multifamily production bounced back from an over-correction in the previous month with a 21.6 per cent gain to 315,000 units. From a regional perspective, combined starts activity was mixed in the month, posting gains of 17.8 per cent in the South and 5.7 per cent in the West and declines of 9.0 per cent in the Northeast and 13.7 per cent in the Midwest. Issues of new building permits declined 3.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 974,000 units in May. This reduction was due entirely to a 10.0 per cent decline to 352,000 units on the multifamily side following a spike in that sector's permits in April. Meanwhile, single-family permits edged up 1.3 per cent to 622,000 units in May – their best pace in five years. Regionally, permits rose 4.0 per cent in the Northeast but declined 6.1 per cent in the Midwest, 3.3 per cent in the South and 3.5 per cent in the West in May.
June 18, 2013 – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that an imposed policy mandating random alcohol testing is unjustified, even in dangerous workplaces. Irving Pulp & Paper operates a pulp mill in New Brunswick. In 2006, it adopted a workplace policy that mandated random alcohol testing of employees that held safety sensitive positions in the mill. Random testing was achieved by using an off-site computer, which in any 12-month period, randomly selected 10 per cent of people on a list of employees who held safety sensitive positions. The policy provided that a positive test for alcohol could give rise to significant disciplinary consequences, including dismissal and further provided that a failure to submit to testing was grounds for immediate dismissal. For the full article by Robert England visit, hrreporter.com.
June 18, 2013, Edmonton, Alta. – Values of lumber, pulp and paper, and panelboard manufactured by Alberta Forest Products Association member companies totalled approximately $671 million for the 1st quarter of 2013. "These prices are the result of some of the best lumber and panelboard markets that we have seen in several years," said Brady Whittaker, AFPA president and CEO. “Strong revenues translate into investments in facilities, communities, and our forests.” Whittaker noted that while prices have moderated during the 2nd quarter of 2013, the industry remains in an excellent competitive position. For the full report visit, albertaforestproducts.ca.
June 18, 2013, Vernon, B.C. – In the early morning of June 15, Bradley Haslam, an 18-year-old cleanup crew employee at our Lavington Division, became entangled in a conveyer belt at the mill. He was discovered by the Cleanup Shift Supervisor, who freed him from the equipment, and along with two others, administered emergency first aid until medical services arrived on scene. Bradley was transported to Vernon Jubilee Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, despite the best efforts of everyone involved. As a company, we are extremely saddened by the loss of Bradley Haslam and extend our sincerest sympathy to his family and loved ones during this difficult time. To know that a family has been forever changed by this tragedy is devastating. No words can convey the pain. The loss is heart wrenching, the impact lasting. Today, and for many days to come, our hearts will be with the family and friends of this young man as they face the unimaginable. Our thoughts will also be with our employees at the Lavington Division as they return to work, because the days ahead will be difficult. We will have our Employee Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider on site to offer support, and I encourage anyone needing help to seek out these services. I especially want to thank those who responded to the accident for their efforts to save this young man’s life. Their efforts are well appreciated. As an organization, safety is our most important value. This tragedy serves to remind us of the vital importance of safety in our workplace. When something goes terribly wrong, as it did on Saturday morning, we have to step-back, re-evaluate, and move forward with a strong resolve to make sure a tragedy like this doesn’t happen again. For my part, I renew my commitment to take a leadership role across the organization to ensure everyone understands that safety is at the core of Tolko. This tragedy serves as a personal call to action for all of us to look out for each other and to make sure that everyone is safe. Brad Thorlakson President & CEO
May 31, 2013, Vancouver, B.C. - Canfor Corporation has sold 50 per cent of its interest in the Peace Valley Oriented Strand Board to Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LP). LP is now the sole owner of the Peace Valley OSB mill. The proceeds of the sale are $77 million including working capital. In addition, Canfor will receive further consideration over a three-year period based on Peace Valley OSB trailing twelve month EBITDA.
May 30, 2013, Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed two rules to help protect Americans from exposure to formaldehyde emitted from wood products. At room temperature, formaldehyde is a colorless, flammable gas with a pungent smell and is used in the production of fertilizer, paper, plywood, and urea-formaldehyde resins. Exposure to it can cause adverse health effects including eye, nose and throat irritation, neurological symptoms, and cancer. EPA’s first proposed rule limits how much formaldehyde may be emitted from hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard and finished goods, that are sold, supplied, offered for sale, manufactured, or imported in the U.S. It includes an exemption from some testing and recordkeeping requirements for products made with no added formaldehyde resins. The second proposal establishes a third-party certification framework designed to ensure that manufacturers of composite wood products meet the Toxic Substances Control Act formaldehyde emission standards by having their composite wood products certified though an accredited third-party certifier. This proposed third-party certification program is intended to ensure that composite wood products sold in this country meet the emission standards in the rule regardless of whether they were made in the U.S. or not. Formaldehyde is used in adhesives that make up composite building materials such as hardwood plywood, medium-density fiberboard, particleboard, and finished goods containing these products. The emitted formaldehyde can be left over from the resin or composite wood making process or be released when the resin degrades in the presence of heat and humidity. The highest potential exposure occurs when workers breathe contaminated workplace air. “The proposed regulations announced reflect EPA’s continued efforts to protect the public from exposure to harmful chemicals in their daily lives,” said James J. Jones, EPA’s acting assistant administrator for the Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. “Once final, the rules will reduce the public’s exposure to this harmful chemical found in many products in our homes and workplaces.” In 2010, Congress passed the Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Act, or Title VI of the Toxic Substances Control Act, which establishes emission standards for formaldehyde from composite wood products and directs EPA to propose rules to enforce the act’s provisions. EPA’s proposed rules align, where practical, with the requirements for composite wood products set by the California Air Resources Board, putting in place national standards for companies that manufacture or import these products. Its national rules will also encourage an ongoing industry trend towards switching to no-added formaldehyde resins in composite wood products. More on formaldehyde proposals visit, www.epa.gov.
Truckloads of raw lumber arrive daily at the Turuss (Canada) Industry Co. Ltd. facility in Chesley, Ont., which opened last summer as part of the China-based hardwood floor manufacturer.
The increasing use of robotics in the manufacturing sector is now being incorporated into the wood products industry.
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