‘Harvesting trees younger than we are’: EACOM Timmins marks centennial
By Maria Church
EACOM Timber Corporation’s oldest sawmill just turned 100 and the company marked its centennial with a day of community celebrations last Friday.
The Eastern Canada lumber producer pulled out all the stops with a community BBQ, staff softball game and tours of the Timmins mill to showcase recent modernization projects.
The guest list included Ontario’s natural resources and forestry minister, John Yakabuski, EACOM CEO Kevin Edgson, MP Charlie Angus, MPP Gilles Bisson, Timmins city councillor Rock Whissel, and more than 300 EACOM current and retired employees, families, contractors, and community members.
The Timmins sawmill’s 100-year history includes many ups and downs through challenging market conditions and natural disasters, EACOM communications director Julie Paquet said in an interview with CFI.
“In a cyclical industry like ours, it’s something special to see such a milestone,” Paquet said. “Looking back, thinking of all those periods and times when the industry was down or the mill was challenged with floods and fires, to see that it’s still there and still standing is a testament to the dedication of the people in Timmins who are behind it.”
Most recently, a fire in 2012 ground mill production to a halt for more than a year as EACOM took steps to completely rebuild the mill. Since then, the mill has undergone a number of large capital projects totalling $42 million, including the installation of a new planer grader in 2015 and Eastern Canada’s first continuous dry kiln in 2017.
“We’re quite lucky because it’s a recent mill, having been completely rebuilt in 2013, so we’re continuing to improve it with smaller projects,” Paquet said.
“We’re continuing to optimize every log that goes through the mill and really minimize waste. We’ve seen in recent years gains in terms of production by 20 per cent thanks to those investments and the work the people have put behind the mill to make it run as smoothly as possible,” she said.
Today the mill produces 160 mmbf annually.
“We’re harvesting today trees that are younger than the mill and that speaks volumes to the sustainable practices of our foresters. That’s an important part of the story,” Paquet said.
The Timmins sawmill regional EACOM office directly employs 150 people, and supports 215 people in woodlands operations.
EACOM is celebrating another milestone this year. The company’s second oldest mill, Nairn Centre, is marking its 70th anniversary in the fall.
Photos courtesy EACOM.
Check out a timeline of EACOM’s Timmins sawmill here: CMQ Timeline Timmins 100