The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 10, Number 4


"Ice Storm '98" Was Big Natural Disaster in Canada

On January 5 and 6, an ice storm hit eastern Canada and the northeastern United States, and destroyed the electrical transmission system, which was not restored for another four weeks. People were left without heat or a way of communicating with the outside world. Substations and transformers were damaged; trees and branches collapsed under the weight of the ice; in southwestern Quebec alone, some 1000 transmission-line pylons and 24,000 poles were downed.

The disaster area in Canada reached from eastern Ontario through Quebec into New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. In the United States, it included northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. The Canadian part of the disaster was reported on p. 14, 16 and 20 of the May 1998 Tappi Journal by Peter N. Williamson, to record the part played by nine Canadian paper mills (as well as linemen from the U.S., members of the Canadian Armed Forces, and others from across Canada) in response to the disaster. Of the nine mills, eight were able to give substantial help: they sent electricity over the grid from their cogeneration plants to surrounding municipalities; supplied truckloads of tissue and hygienic products to people who had sought haven in emergency shelters (which sprang up everywhere) in schools, golf and curling clubs, churches, and town halls; donated wood to emergency shelters and residents; supplied generators to hospitals, farms and emergency shelters; donated money to the Red Cross; and sent electrical staff members to the provincial utility to help reconnect the local distribution network.

Faxe Kalk Makes PCC for Coatings in Belgium

The Danish company Faxe Kalk operates satellite PCC plants for ten major European and US paper producers. ("Kalk" means "chalk.") It was acquired in 1996 by the Belgian Lhoist Group, which may explain its choice of a Belgian location for its new 60,000 tpy Hermelle PCC plant. This is not a satellite plant, but a central production facility, already shipping PCC filler to European countries. Soon it will start producing PCC for coatings. (BP Abs 3535, 1998)

Repap Closes Alcell Operation

Repap Enterprises of Stamford, CT, agreed in December to sell its Alcell alcohol-solvent pulping technology to Malaspina Capital Ltd., but Malaspina failed to raise the necessary capital. Efforts to commercialize the process have stopped, and the Alcell operations have closed down. (More information in the July 1998 Pima's Papermaker, p. 18.)

Domtar to Buy E.B. Eddy

Domtar Inc., Montreal, has agreed to acquire E.B. Eddy Ltd., Ottawa, and its Port Huron division in Michigan, E.B. Eddy Paper Inc., from George Weston Ltd., a Toronto-based food chain operator. Both Domtar and Eddy make alkaline fine paper. The deal would make Domtar the seventh largest fine paper producer in North America.

Wood Fiber Shortage Develops; New Fibers Sought

The Canadian Pulp & Paper Association conference in January 1998 included for the first time a symposium on nonwood fibers for papermaking. Other sources of fiber are being sought to augment wood-fiber sources. A special exhibit showed a variety of supplies, machinery and processing methods for use of nonwood fiber.

In India, an estimated 55% of the fiber used by the nation's paper industry comes from nonwood sources, not counting bamboo. These include bagasse, rice and wheat straw, jute, grasses, and recovered paper. The use of nonwood fiber is being encouraged further because even conservative estimates of future consumption are much higher than the predicted supply. Import tariffs have been reduced very sharply in the last four years, and imports of paper and board doubled over a two-year period.

"Cluster Rule" Regulates Air & Water Discharges

In March the Environmental Protection Agency's pulp and paper "Cluster Rule" finally went into effect, with the intent of virtually eliminating discharge of dioxin into rivers and greatly reducing air emissions of hazardous gases. A total initial expenditure of two billion dollars is anticipated for the 155 paper, pulp and paperboard mills affected, and continuing costs of several million dollars each year.

Some of the compounds to be reduced or removed, besides dioxins and furans, are chloroform, sulphur compounds, volatile organic compounds, and particulates. The EPA has named ECF (elemental chlorine-free) bleaching as the "best available technology" for lowering pollutants to acceptable standards. Environmental groups have protested EPA's choice of preferred bleaching method. (More details in Ken McEntee's EPA story in Recycled Paper News, December 1997, p. 1, 6-9.)

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