Skeena Sawmills has stopped taking logs at its Terrace sawmill for three weeks as of Jan. 6, citing the high cost of logging and other factors affecting its business.
But the mill itself will continue to produce lumber, drawing down what inventory there is in the log yard until the end of the month. Chipping operations will continue.
“The ongoing current high-cost economic environment has continued to put pressures on our operating margins,” Skeena Sawmills chief operating officer Greg DeMille said in a Jan. 6 release.
“Skeena is not immune to the same pressures that the rest of the industry is under, including high operating costs, limited secure fibre availability and adjusting to government policy pressures on permitting and fibre access.”
The re-opening of the log scales will be evaluated at the end of the month and will be dependent on improved economic conditions, the release stated.
While the sawmill continues to operate, its sister facility, the Skeena bio-energy pellet plant next door has closed temporarily.
“We decided at the end of December to curtail the operations at the pellet plant for the next one to two months. This is largely due to the availability of fresh raw material from the sawmill as a result of the reduction in production output,” said DeMille.
Skeena Sawmills employs 150 people, not including contractors and suppliers.
This week’s stop to log deliveries follows cuts to production through November that resulted in 50 per cent less working hours for mill employees.
The mill was also closed for an extra week over the Christmas period.
The halt to log deliveries also follows claims that Skeena Sawmills has been late in paying its contractors.
DeMille declined comment, instead referring to the company’s Jan. 6 release outlining the current economic environment facing the lumber industry.
A week ago sawmill industry giant Canfor announced it was extending three-week shutdowns announced in December for a further two weeks at four of its B.C. mills, including the ones in Houston and Vanderhoof.
Like Skeena Sawmills, Canfor cited weak market conditions and high logging costs as factors.