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Tl’oh Forest Products in Ft.St. James to Close

Wednesday, June 10, 2015 @ 3:59 AM

Fort St. James, B.C.-   Tl’oh Forest Products in Ft. St. James  will be closing its doors, and 43 employees will be out of work.

The  plant produced finger-joint  products, but  the company says  there has been “a fundamental shift in markets that  does not allow the business to remain viable”.

“We profoundly regret the decision we have had to make today,” said Tl’oh President Leonard Thomas. “Our biggest hope was that we could find some way to continue operations. Unfortunately, prevailing business conditions prevent us from doing so.”

The company also states future fibre uncertainty led to the decision to shut down the operation.

“We appreciate the hard work of our employees and we want to emphasize that this closure is not a reflection of the people of Tl’oh, the work that they are doing or what they have accomplished,” said Thomas. “We want to sincerely thank our employees, suppliers, local contractors, and the community of Fort St. James for the support shown over the past 20 years.”

All employees have been notified that the plant will close its doors  as of July 31st.Operating as a partnership between Apollo Forest Products and the Nak’azdli First Nation,  Tl’oh has been in business for nearly 20 years.

Of the 43 employees,  39 are members of the  Nak’azdli  First Nation.  Employees are being advised to contact Apollo Forest Products  and  will be given first consideration for any job openings there.

The assets of the finger-joint plant will be  prepared for storage until either operations resume, or  a decision is made on  the future of the mill.  At this point there has been no decision  on whether or not the mill and its assets will be sold.



43 jobs a 50 or more spin off jobs. not good.

Has demand for finger-joint products declined, or are they being produced more cheaply somewhere else?

TL’oh Forest Products is a joint Venture between Apollo Forest Products, and the Nak’azdli First Nations, as near as I can determine.

Apollo is owned by the Sinclair Group of Companies, who also own Nechako Lumber, and L&M Lumber in Vanderhoof BC, and of course Lakeland Mills in Prince George BC. So this finger joint mill is well connected to fibre supply and mill ends.

Lumber trading at $290.00 US a 1000 FBM this morning which is not a bad price.

Would be interesting to know what the fundamental shift in markets is all about, and if it will effect other finger joint mills in the Interior.

Good question BillPoser…. are they being produced in China from some of the raw log exports we send over? That would suck.

If China is beating us on finger joint lumber, it means their labour advantage is such that after all the costs of getting that raw log to their shores, they can turn it into finger joint lumber, and then ship that same lumber all the way back to the United States. Doesn’t make sense. Something else is at play.

And besides, what do you expect China to do with all those Canadian dollars we’ve been giving them for our cheap consumer goods. We’ve got to sell them something back? We don’t like them buying up all our real estate, our minerals, our logs – so what – reruns of Trailer Park Boys? This is the reality of the global economy.

I suppose another possibility is that the Tl’oh mill is inefficient and can’t compete on price with other Canadian mills. I have no reason to believe that to be true, but my understanding is that that is what happened to Teeslee some time ago: they bought used equipment and ended up unable to compete with more modern mills.

It is unfortunate that this company is shutting down. Many mills have found ways to move their trim ends to produce secondary products(finger jointed products) vs sending them to the chipper and having the product end up in wood chips that are sent to the pulp mills. The process to produce a usable product from trim blocks is just getting too costly for some companies. Mills will just end up sending more pulp material.

I highly doubt China is sending finger jointed dimension lumber back to North America. Quite possibly there’s been an increase in production in the USA, some of the mills there recently sold to Canadian based companies will be ramping up production to pay off the debt they must have incurred in their purchase. And that’s probably affecting the markets, and market share that’s been held for quite awhile by our fingerjointed dimension.

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