Skip to main content

A worker controls a hopper full of cedar lumber at Interfor's Hammond Cedar Mill in Maple Ridge, B.C., in this file photo.

CHUCK STOODY/CP

Interfor Corp. plans to permanently close its Hammond sawmill in Maple Ridge, B.C., affecting more than 100 workers.

The Vancouver-based company says the closure is part of a reorganization of its forestry and woodlands operations amid tight supplies of logs for processing.

It says the shutdown will be complete by the end of 2019, after the mill’s remaining log and lumber inventories have been processed and shipped.

Story continues below advertisement

Interfor chief executive Duncan Davies says the company, which has 18 mills across North America, will seek jobs for the affected workers at its other operations or at outside mills.

Interfor is still awaiting a provincial decision on its $60-million offer to acquire Canfor Corp’s Interior cutting rights after that company closed its Vavenby sawmill in July.

When the planned deal for the cutting rights was announced, Interfor said the additional supply would “solidify” its Adams Lake operation east of Kamloops, B.C.

None of the timber was earmarked for Interfor’s coastal mills but a company statement issued Tuesday said the Hammond closure could create opportunities to increase supply for its other Metro Vancouver sawmill, located in Delta.

“The Coastal B.C. forest industry has faced significant log supply challenges over the past two decades and manufacturing capacity needs to be brought into line with available log supply,” Davies said in the statement.

Closure of its Maple Ridge sawmill would result in “repatriation of working capital tied up at Hammond,” while “monetization” is planned for the prime Fraser River-front property, the company said.

The Hammond mill mainly processes Western red cedar and has a two-shift capacity, but Interfor said it has been operating with a single shift for several years due to log supply constraints and other issues.

Story continues below advertisement

In August, United Steelworkers Local 2009 members at Hammond and at Interfor’s Acorn mill in Delta voted 97 per cent in favour of strike action.

The permanent closure of the Hammond mill is the latest upheaval for the B.C. forest industry, which has seen nearly two dozen mill closures, short-term shutdowns and hundreds of layoffs through the Interior over the summer.

A lack of supply and volatile markets were blamed in those cases, while Davies said cedar producers such as the Hammond mill have been “disproportionately impacted by duties on shipments into the United States as a result of the softwood lumber dispute.”

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter