Mill worker has an idea where infrastructure money should be invested

Gary Kean
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Now that more money will soon flow into Corner Brook Pulp and Paper’s operations, Paul Humber would like to see improvements in the flow of pulp stock going to the paper machines.

That’s one area the president of Unifor Local 242, the union representing the mill’s papermakers, says needs attention by way of capital expenditures.

One of the top priorities for the $110-million government loan for the mill announced Thursday, he said, should be the plant’s thermo-mechanical pulping (TMP) system. The TMP department is where the pulp that is turned into paper is mixed and cooked before being fed to the massive paper machines.

“The paper machines need money, too, but that’s not as critical as stock production,” said Humber, who attended Thursday’s announcement. “The machines are going fairly quick and the stock is having trouble keeping up with the machines, so a lot of the TMPs need upgrades. We need another line of TMPs, really, but I don’t know if that is going to happen or not.”

Daniel Archambault, executive vice-president of Kruger Inc.’s industrial products division was asked where the money will be spent on capital upgrades.

He first said he didn’t want to get into details of any planned projects without first informing the mill’s employees.

Pressed for what areas could use upgrading, he mentioned the TMP department, the two paper machines and the mill’s hog fuel boiler. He said some penstocks at Deer Lake Power need attention.

Of the $110 million, $85 million will be used to help the company restructure its finances, while the remaining $25 million will go towards capital expenditures. However, the financial restructuring will allow the company to invest about $70 million of its own money in the future, meaning the mill can expect to undergo about $95 million in capital upgrades.

The mill began producing news-print in 1925, but Archambault said the it can remain a viable operation for years to come.

“It’s an old mill, but that doesn’t mean it’s falling apart,” he said.

“With the agreement, we will be able to continue to invest and improve our operation and improve our cost structure and ensure the sustainability of the asset.”

The financial aid was accompanied by a power assets and water rights purchase agreement that will see the province purchase Deer Lake Power and the Watson’s Pond power plant if the mill ceases to operate.

Organizations: TMP department, Unifor Local 242, Kruger Inc.

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Recent comments

  • david
    February 21, 2014 - 11:34

    Unions....why is it they have all the solutions, but don't ever see fit to provide the one simple thing to their employers for which they are actually paid? If they'd replace their delusions of being in charge, and their destructive intransigence, with a morsel of work ethic, Newfoundland might have an economy. Otherwise pass the hat around, start your own paper mill, and harness the insights and "entrepreneurial urges" that bubble so strongly in your veins.....bwa ha ha ha ha!

  • SayWhat
    February 21, 2014 - 10:33

    What about the unfunded liability in your pension plan? Oh wait, I get it. Just ask the government for another 100 million dollar loan.

  • a business man
    February 21, 2014 - 07:58

    Investment ideas from unions and workers - lol - no thanks. I think the money should be invested in technology that will eliminate the need for as many workers as possible. The capital expenditures should be geared towards operating with less workes. That way, operating costs will be lower on an hourly basis, and the company will do better. Paper is a dying industry, and frankly, producing paper (or anything) in Canada is no longer economically viable. It is cheaper to produce the same quality of product in the US or Mexico, and this company were smart, it would have left newfoundland years ago.

    • Angus
      February 23, 2014 - 17:42

      I take it you would like to see the minimum wage lowered too? Maybe lay off a couple of thousand civil service workers too? Ok I get it. All those tradespersons working on Hebron are making to much money so lets send that work to Korea or Singapore and while your at it maybe you can come up with some money to replace all those lost wages to keep your business going.