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West Fraser drops lumber production again as demand wanes

April 6, 2020  By West Fraser

As a result of the continuing proliferation of the COVID-19 pandemic and the imposition of mandatory and recommended governmental restrictions on movement, travel, work and trade that are impacting our operations and employees, the demand for forest products and the availability of residuals and other inputs and transportation services, the following additional changes to operating schedules at West Fraser’s manufacturing operations have been implemented.

These operating schedules will be assessed and adjusted as may be required to further respond to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to protect the health and safety of our employees and continuing changes in mill operating, supply chain and market conditions.


Effective April 6, West Fraser will further reduce its [spruce, pine, fir] SPF production by 30 to 40 million board feet of production per week which represents between 45 and 60 per cent of SPF production. [Southern yellow pine] SYP production will continue in line with the reductions previously announced on March 19. West Fraser plans to continue to operate its power generation assets at its Canadian sawmill sites during this period.


Effective April 6, plywood production at the company’s three manufacturing sites will be further adjusted on an ongoing basis. It is expected that curtailments of at least 5,000 msf of plywood production will continue. MDF and LVL production may also be reduced, primarily through the reduction of operating hours.



Effective April 20, West Fraser will take approximately four weeks of downtime at its Cariboo Pulp and Paper joint venture pulp mill resulting in an approximate reduction in NBSK production of 30,000 tonnes of which West Fraser’s share is 15,000 tonnes. The downtime is necessitated by decreased fibre availability as a result of widespread sawmill curtailments in B.C. and the other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mill operations and employees. During this downtime, the cogeneration facility at Cariboo is expected to continue to operate.

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