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Mercer Celgar's 60th Anniversary - Celebrating Our Operations and Impact

CANADA (News release) -- 2021 marks Mercer Celgar's 60th anniversary in operation. As we reflect on our history, we remain squarely focused on rising to the challenges that we face as a sector, working hard to help build a more sustainable and positive economic future - for Castlegar, our surrounding communities, and the families that live within them.

Since 1961, the Celgar mill has been a major employer and cornerstone of Castlegar and the West Kootenay region. The history of the Celgar mill is one of talent, ingenuity, and resilience within the community. It is also a story of what we can accomplish when we work together to build shared success, creating meaningful jobs for the people who live here.

Celgar was the first pulp and paper mill in the interior of B.C. After employing 3000 people during the rapid construction phase, the mill officially opened operations in 1961 with 300 permanent employees. In 1963, Celgar team members went on to establish Local No. 1 of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Workers Union (CPPW), the predecessor of Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC) that represents our workers to this day.

In 1993, an $850 million rebuild and modernization project transformed Celgar into a producer of high-quality pulp with modern power generation and environmental treatment facilities. The project significantly increased the mill's production capabilities to 430,000 tonnes annually.

Enter Mercer

Mercer International Inc. acquired the Celgar mill in February 2005. Seeing the potential of the mill, Mercer has invested millions in capital improvement projects over the years that have further increased the mill's production capabilities, improved environmental performance, and introduced the ability to harvest bioextractives such as turpentine.

Today, Celgar is a leader in the global pulp industry. The mill produces approximately 500,000 tonnes of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp (NBSK). This process produces enough eco-certified green energy to supply our own needs, plus the needs of up to an additional 20,000 homes. The power generated at our mill meets the renewable low impact electricity products standards, which allows us to sell our power with the certified Eco-Logo. Our pulp product is used by customers across the globe in the manufacturing of basic human need essentials like tissue, towelling, and other paper hygiene products.

Reflecting on our history and accomplishments, we are proud of the progress that we have made in meeting the sector's challenges. As we continue to build our history, we look to new ways to build a more competitive, sustainable company that will succeed long into the future. This involves challenging the status quo set by those before us and expanding our growth in people, production, and environment.

Our Commitments

Taking care of the forests and our natural resources are regular to our daily operations. The wood used at Celgar comes from forest operations that meet the FSC Controlled Wood Standard and/or the requirements of the PEFC (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) Chain of Custody. In this area, we recognize that we can be doing more to manage our certified resources. Therefore, Celgar is at the forefront of optimizing the full use of our valuable forests by reducing wood waste. The mill uses approximately 150,000 cubic metres per year of wood residuals that would have previously been left in the bush or slash burned in logging operations.

People and community are at the heart of our company. This is reflected in our commitment to health & safety and to a positive workplace environment. Our team members are considered some of the best in their fields. We employ hundreds of lifelong employees who offer an abundance of knowledge about our operations and the industry. Their skills and expertise are an invaluable component of who we are.

We take pride in working together alongside our local union to provide interesting and rewarding careers. We work every day to be the employer of choice for our region, with opportunities on our team that reflect the diversity of our community.

At Mercer Celgar, we do more than just manufacture pulp, as evident by our 60 years in operation. We work hard to help build a more sustainable and positive economic future for Castlegar. We work to make a lasting, positive impact on our surrounding communities and the families that live within them. We work to create opportunities that offer meaningful career choices and a trajectory for growth. We are Sustainable. By Design.

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