Fort St. James saw another economic improvement last week when Conifex began operating the second shift at their local sawmill. The second shift came on line on March 21.
According to Lorraine Ducharme, spokeswoman for Conifex, the completion of improvements to their planer and with the current state of the lumber market, “it made good economic sense to us to ramp up production at this time.”
The mill had been shut down for two years after previous owners Pope and Talbot went bankrupt in 2007.
Conifex bought the mill in 2008 and reopened it in 2009.
“We’ve actually been planning the second shift for this year all along,” Lorraine Ducharme.
And while the market might not be ideal for lumber, with growing asian markets, it is improving.
“Lumber manufacturing is still struggling, there’s no doubt, in all of B.C., but we see it turning around slowly and we want to be there when it makes the final turn around that curve,” said Ducharme
Conifex currently ships about 50 per cent of their lumber to off shore markets.
Since reopening, there has been $30 million in upgrades done to the mill and it employs over 200 people.