This week, barges carrying more than 100 tonnes of Finnish-made equipment turned heads as they floated up the Ottawa River on their way to Thurso, Quebec.
The barges – which are transporting digesters – left Finland in early August and going to be installed at the Thurso mill over the coming months and are the first major steps taken to convert the mill from a kraft pulp producer to a dissolving pulp producer.
The full conversion is expected to be complete by next summer.
Once the barges hit land, the Quebec Ministry of Transport closed part of Highway 148 to Thurso simply due to the sheer size of the equipment.
For some like Ken Draycott, a resident of Cushing, Quebec, the equipment floating down the river next was an interesting sight to see. He submitted this photo to The Review:
“This went by our front porch about 12:40 p.m. on Monday, October 11,” he told the Ontario paper.
The boilers, in which wood pulp is cooked and compartmentalized into cellulose, are a key element in the process of making dissolving pulp.
This week the mill’s owners, Fortress Paper Ltd., announced agreements with Asian viscose fibre producers that will see 78 per cent of the production at Thurso being shipped to China.
Thanks to these deals and the upcoming conversion, the mill in Thurso has been reinvigorated. Good news to the 300 employees and to the small western Quebec town that have relied on the pulp mill for decades.
“If there’s no mill. There’s no town,” Pierre de Chatelet, an employee at the mill for 35 years, told the CBC.
Some more photos:
CBC: “Journey Of Barges Signals Rebirth Of Quebec Mill”
The Ottawa Citizen: “Chinese Pre-Buy Fortress Production”
The Ottawa Citizen: “Quebec Closes Highway 148 For Delivery of New Equipment for Thurso Mill”