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.