GREENWICH, Conn., (Press release) - White Birch Paper announced it will cease production of newsprint effective immediately at the Bear Island facility in Ashland, Va.
White Birch sold the mill to Cascades in July of 2018, and leased the mill back with the intention of making newsprint for two more years. The mill had an annual capacity of approximately 240,000 MT per year of newsprint and employed just over 140 people.
"The idea and attempt to keep the employees of Bear Island active through the mill's transition in ownership and grade production has come to an unfortunate and premature end," Christopher Brant, president of White Birch Paper, said. "We walked into this project believing that the U.S. trade actions surrounding the uncoated groundwood paper business made the mill's output a necessity for customers in the U.S. market for the two years planned. A challenging restart of the mill and zero-tariff environment have forced us to weigh the viability of continuing production amidst waning market support for the mill and the perceived advantages it has to offer. We wish to thank those customers who have been supportive throughout this process, and as they know, we will continue growing those strong relationships going forward. I also want to personally thank all of our employees, veteran and newcomers, who made every effort to get us to the finish line."
White Birch Paper will turn over control of the facility to Cascades in the coming months as it continues to plan for the potential conversion of the mill in the future.
"We wish both Cascades and the employees the best of luck as the mill transitions to the next chapter in its long history" Brant added.
White Birch Paper produces more than 850,000 metric tons of newsprint, high bright and book papers in addition to paperboard and other technical specialty grades at its three mills in Canada.