MRO Magazine

Suspended 100 Mile House oriented strandboard mill to close permanently


Industry

November 9, 2020
By The Canadian Press

(CP) TORONTO – Norbord Inc. says it is permanently closing its oriented strandboard mill in the central B.C. community of 100 Mile House after suspending operations there in August 2019.

The company says the mill, which produces cladding material often used in new housing, is its highest cost operation and suffers from a shortage of local wood fibre due to the destruction from the mountain pine beetle and significant wildfires in recent years.

Norbord is declaring $10 million in costs related to mill closure. About 160 employees were affected by the mill’s suspension last year as only a small crew was retained for maintenance.

The closure comes despite Norbord CEO Peter Wijnbergen declaring the three months ended Sept. 30 its “strongest quarter ever” thanks to higher prices for building materials driven by strong new home and renovation spending in North America and Europe.

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The company says it had net earnings of $203 million, compared with $18 million in the second quarter of 2020 and a loss of $17 million in the third quarter of 2019.

Sales rose to $725 million in the third quarter from $435 million in the year-earlier period and $421 in the second quarter.

“We are optimistic, but we also recognize that our business is cyclical and that it is not yet clear whether the worst of the pandemic is behind us,” said Wijnbergen in a news release.

“Today we announce the permanent closure of the 100 Mile House mill in British Columbia , which will reduce Norbord’s North American stated capacity, as the ongoing wood supply shortage in that region makes the reopening of that mill uneconomic.”