By: The Working Forest Staff
Richmond, BC – Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) joined Paper Excellence in calling on CN to provide more rail cars for Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp Inc. The pulp mill is dependent on CN, which has failed to adequately transport Meadow Lake mill’s product to ports for months. After exhausting all local storage facilities, Paper Excellence leadership announced a further production slowdown due to the lack of rail service on February 11th. The mill has not operated at full capacity since December. Currently, CN continues to provide less than 40% of requested rail cars and now the mill has had to resort to participating in a CN auction process that drives up prices for the few cars that are available.
Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp employs 190 people and contributes over $1 million daily to Canada’s economy. The mill is also an equal partner in Mistik Management Ltd. (Mistik) that holds the provincial Forest Management Agreement for the area. Mistik is an equal partnership between Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp and NorSask Forest Products, which is owned by the Meadow Lake Tribal Council. For more information about Mistik Management Ltd, read this Practices and Perspectives story from our current sustainability report.
“MLTC has been a long-term business partner of the Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp mill since 1989. Our business partnership with the Meadow Lake pulp mill provides sustained employment and financial benefits, resulting in increased opportunity, well-being, and overall prosperity for our First Nation membership. We encourage CN to immediately provide better rail service for Meadow Lake Mechanical Pulp Mill. Any negative business impact to our long-term partner can translate into negative impacts on employment opportunities affecting our communities and overall business sustainability,” said MLTC Tribal Chief Richard Ben.
“700 local jobs are dependent on the local supply chain for this mill, and many of those jobs are held by members of local Indigenous communities,” said Graham Kissack, Vice President of Environment, Health & Safety, and Corporate Communications. “Our partnerships with Indigenous businesses in and around the Meadow Lake community has been a success story we are proud of. However, the profitability of the mill and its forestry providers hinges on running at full capacity and getting our product to market. This can only happen if CN provides proper rail service.”