Founded in 1966, the pulp mill in Lebel-sur-Quévillon was constructed by Domtar for the production of northern bleached softwood kraft pulp.
The northern Québec mill operated for nearly 40 years until it was shut down in 2005 by Domtar, leading to the loss of 700 jobs in the small region that was home to only 3000.
The mill sat idle until earlier this year when Vancouver-based Fortress Paper Ltd. purchased the facility with the intention of converting it to dissolving pulp mill.
Dissolving pulp – also called specialty cellulose – is predominately used in the textile industry to make products such as rayon. Rayon is a product in high demand across the globe, particularly since the demand for cotton continues to grow while production shrinks.
According to a press release issued by Fortress, once the necessary renovations are completed on site in Lebel-sur-Quévillon the mill will be able to produce approximately 236,000 air dried metric tonnes of dissolving pulp per year.
The conversion process will also include the re-starting of a 30 megawatt cogeneration facility at the Lebel-sur-Quévillon site, and the construction of an addition cogeneration project that will provide up to 50 megawatts of power for the facility. Much like the facility Fortress owns in Thurso, Québec, the intention is that some of this power will be used to run the mill and some will be sold to the provincial power grid pending an agreement with Hydro-Québec.
The Globe & Mail: “Fortress Paper To Relaunch Domtar Plant As Rayon-Pulp Mill”