Blackville Lumber gets $2.6M upgrade to boost efficiency

A $2.6-million investment now allows Blackville Lumber to get 10 per cent more lumber from raw sawlogs.

UPM-Kymmene Miramichi Inc., which owns the sawmill in Blackville, took about two months to install a new curve saw edger at the mill. The equipment scans the log better than the human eye, positions it for the best sawing pattern and saws with the curve of the log.

“This capital improvement project has significantly improved our operation’s efficiency,” sawmill manager David Gunn said in a press release. “Simply put, we can make more lumber with the same level of raw wood.”

“The upgrade demonstrates our commitment to make optimum use of the fibre from our forests,” said Doug Prebble, woodlands manager for UPM-Kymmene Miramichi. “Our ability to efficiently utilize the whole tree plays a pivotal role in the long-term sustainability of our forests, the foundation of our business.”

Company spokeswoman Rayanne Brennan said Thursday that this capital upgrade will not result in layoffs. The crew will remain at a strength of 144 working two shifts a day.

The edger’s installation is part of a multi-phase modernization plan for Blackville Lumber, a random length softwood lumber mill serving Canadian and American markets. Blackville Lumber also produces wood chips and other sawmill by-products

for various markets.

“We are dedicated to the continual improvement of Blackville Lumber and all of our mill operations,” said UPM senior vice-president and general manager Jaakko Sarantola. “In order for us to be competitive, we must keep pace, if not lead the industry in technological advancements.”

UPM-Kymmene Miramichi is a fully integrated complex, comprised of a lightweight coated paper mill, groundwood and kraft pulp mills with sawmills in Blackville and Bathurst. Together, these facilities provide more than 1,400 full-time jobs with a combined annual payroll of $100 million.

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