Canfor Corporation has announced the Isle Pierre Sawmill, located near Prince George, will be closed permanently in the third quarter of this year.

Nearly 100 people will be out of work as a result of the decision.

The company blames the closure on an insufficient supply of viable wood following the pine beetle epidemic, coupled with the global economic downturn as a result of Covid-19.

“Unfortunately, the ongoing economic devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the urgent need for Canfor to make this difficult decision,” said Don Kayne, President, and CEO.

“We know today’s announcement will have a significant impact on our employees, contractors, their families, and the local communities, which we deeply regret. We will work hard to redeploy as many employees as possible to other opportunities throughout the company.”

Based on the current one-shift operation, Isle Pierre sawmill has an annual production capacity of approximately 120 million board feet.

Meanwhile, the company announced the curtailment of Prince George Pulp and Paper and Intercontinental Pulp for approximately four weeks starting July 6.

“We have made the difficult decision to temporarily curtail Prince George Pulp and Paper and Intercontinental Pulp due to the major global economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the shortage of economically viable fiber in the region,” said Kayne.

The curtailment will reduce Canfor Pulp’s production output by approximately 38,000 tonnes of market kraft pulp and 12,000 tonnes of kraft paper.