Upcoming modernizations to streamline the pulp making side of Domtar’s Espanola mill will result in 70 jobs being eliminated through attrition and retirement.
Domtar spokeswoman Bonny Skene said simplifying operations at the northeastern Ontario pulp and specialty paper mill is the first preparatory step of a larger, undisclosed, series of capital upgrades at the site over the next three years.
The Montreal-headquartered forest products company plans to consolidate the fibre production line at Espanola from two bleach plants to one, and reducing the number of batch digesters – a pressure cooker-like machine used in pulp making – from five to three.
This work is scheduled for a two-week maintenance shutdown period in May.
Skene said it has no impact on Espanola’s overall production, but with some equipment starting to age, this is being done to make the mill more competitive.
“By streamlining the operation, the goal is improved reliability and fewer maintenance issues.”
The company is not categorizing this as a layoff.
Skene said they are working with Unifor through this process. After the cuts, the mill’s workforce will stand at 430 employees.
Domtar operates two operations in Ontario; its Dryden softwood pulp mill in northwestern Ontario and the Espanola mill, west of Sudbury.
Espanola-made pulp goes into a number of specialty papers produced at the site, used in sandwich wrappers, muffin cups, and surgical gowns.