Teal-Jones Group reduced its logging on the B.C. coast in May and has now shut down the remainder, including harvest operations in the Fraser Valley and at Honeymoon Bay on Vancouver Island.
The company says continued low lumber prices and high costs for B.C. logs has forced the move, meaning layoffs at Teal-Jones lumber and cedar shake mills in Surrey.
It’s the latest in a series of mill closures and curtailments across the province, with Interior lumber operations dealing with reduced cut in the aftermath of beetle epidemics and fires. On the coast, Teal-Jones and other operators say provincial stumpage remains high after lumber prices fell dramatically since the beginning of 2019.
“Current high stumpage rates remain high relative to lumber prices, and harvesting costs have been adversely impacted by new regulations to bring out more residual waste fibre,” Gerrie Kotze, vice-president and chief financial officer, said in a statement Tuesday. “These negative factors have made it impossible for the company to continue its forest licences economically.”
Teal-Jones’ announcement comes a day after West Fraser Timber said it is curtailing operations at all five of its B.C. operations, effective Sept. 16. They include plywood and sawmills at Williams Lake and Quesnel, and mills in 100 Mile House, Fraser Lake and Chetwynd.
B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson has moved to restrict log exports from the B.C. coast, and require forest companies to seek ministry permission to transfer Crown timber rights. One transfer awaiting approval is Canfor’s $60 million sale of timber rights, after shutting down its Vavenby sawmill north of Kamloops.
Interfor wants to buy the timber to keep its historic Adams Lake sawmill operating.