A robust COVID-19 operational plan focused on the health and safety of employees, contractors and the wider community has been vetted and reviewed with provincial officials. The $20 million maintenance shutdown at Irving Tissue and Irving Pulp & Paper started on Sunday May 30.
The mills are scheduled for maintenance every 12 to 18 months to inspect, certify, upgrade and maintain machinery. Recent shutdown plans have been deferred twice, due to the pandemic. The last maintenance shutdown was performed in September 2019.
“The work underway represents an annual investment in the future of the mill and community. Ongoing maintenance work and investments in environmental improvements and equipment modernization are what have allowed it to be one of the longest running mills in the country,” says Mark Mosher, VP of Irving Pulp & Paper, Limited. “Today, the Saint John pulp mill is at the heart of the forest products value chain in the province and sustains many jobs across New Brunswick communities.”
More than 800 local contractors will be on-site over a 12-day period to complete key maintenance work, fewer than historical levels of 1,600. Significant effort was made to maximize NB contractors and there will be only 48 non-NB contractors (down from an average of 250 to 300 in past shutdowns) on-site. All non-NB contractors will have completed the mandatory 14-day isolation prior to starting work.