Paper Excellence is banking on the fact that northern wood is good option for paper products and for making cardboard packaging, paper towel and tissue paper as it plans to open the mill it owns at the edge of Prince Albert.
Last week, the mill hosted a come and go open house at the EA Rawlinson Centre as part of its work in meeting environmental requirements.
“The primary purpose of tonight is to collect any feedback or questions to incorporate into our environmental impact statement as part of our environmental assessment process”, said Carlo Dal Monte, VP of Business Development, Energy and Project Operations Director for the mill restart project. “Fundamentally, we’re getting the mill ready to run”.
While the mill in its previous incarnation was a pulp mill, it made copy paper and produced pulp but the new owners are focused on new trends and on Asian markets.
“The interesting thing about northern wood species is that it is a valued product because it’s very strong”, said Dal Monte. “The primary market is in tissue, paper towels and also in specialty packaging, where you need something that’s strong and its renewable to support these lighter basis weights”.
As the world shifts to a higher priority on not using plastic, focus has turned back to wood as a biodegradable, more natural product that can do some of the things plastic has been doing for years.
“When you see the decline in paper and digital displacement, you’re also seeing a dramatic growth in packaging and tissue”, Dal Monte explained. “We’re starting to see communities are under pressure with recycling programs. Anything that’s renewable and compostable”.
The company plans to start construction in the spring to make the needed changes and will gather its wood source from other milling operations in Saskatchewan.
“One of the challenges of forestry in Saskatchewan, when the forestry companies go into a piece of land if they can only recover a certain percentage…it’s not great for the forest base itself”, said Dal Monte. “All over the world, pulp and paper mills have always been complementary to sawmills and that’s what it was before so we’re hoping to restore that balance”.
Paper Excellence plans to have the mill producing pulp by the end of 2023 and to be fully operational shortly after that.