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Mercer Celgar shutdown delayed, shortened

NEW YORK (From news reports) -- The shutdown at the Mercer Celgar pulp mill in Castlegar will start a little later and won't last as long as originally scheduled.

The company announced in January that it would take three weeks of downtime due to a fibre shortage, beginning March 7.

But in an interview a couple of weeks after the announcement, managing director Bill MacPherson was optimistic that the shutdown might be shorter.

Celgar now says it will curtail production from March 18 to 28.

Meanwhile, Mercer Celgar will be burning wood and bark debris today and tomorrow that was left over from a dewatering project in the spring of 2022. It involved extracting pulp logs from Arrow Lakes to convert the material to chips.

In a news release, the company said the operations took place on Interfor and BC Hydro's properties and part of Mercer Celgar's obligation to both companies is to clean up the site, including burning any left over debris.

Celgar says smoke venting conditions have been determined to be ideal they have the blessing of the BC Wildfire Service, the fire department, Interfor, and BC Hydro and a permit from the City of Castlegar.

The company says the burn will be "actively monitored."

"Every effort will be made to minimize the impact to the surrounding community," they said.

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