Nordic Kraft pulp to be marketed by Domtar; ramp-up slated for late August to early September

Nordic Kraft, set to ramp up production at a long-idle 300,000 tonnes/yr northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) market pulp mill in Lebel-sur-Quévillon (LSQ), QC, by late August to early September, will have Domtar sell its pulp output, industry contacts told Fastmarkets RISI.

Nordic Kraft is a former Domtar mill that’s now owned by Chantiers Chibougamau, a family-run firm in Quebec known for its lumber and engineered wood distribution. Needing to market its output for the first time since the LSQ mill last ran 15 years ago, Chantiers Chibougamau inked a long-term contract to have Domtar exclusively sell Nordic Kraft’s pulp output.

Nordic Kraft’s sales link with Domtar is unusual because the two firms would essentially compete in domestic and offshore NBSK markets. To avoid a conflict of interest, Domtar is placing a firewall between its sales executives and those involved in the LSQ mill’s pulp sales.

Domtar’s pulp sales director Robert Vaughan, a 20-year veteran of the Montreal-headquartered firm whose background includes both paper and pulp, will take on the role of selling Nordic Kraft’s output, sources said. Vaughan will no longer be involved in Domtar’s pulp sales.

When Nordic Kraft starts up the LSQ mill it will initially produce unbleached softwood kraft (UKP), according to industry contacts. After a four- to six-week ramp-up period, it will swing to market NBSK pulp thereafter, those sources said.

Nordic Kraft owner Chantiers Chibougamau, which has never operated a market pulp mill before, began setting the groundwork to restart the LSQ facility last November, Fastmarkets RISI’s PPI Pulp & Paper Week reported at the time. The Quebec government reportedly agreed to finance 40% of the C$342 million in restart costs.

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