A sawmill in western Montana is closing this fall, laying off 99 sawmill workers when it finishes processing its remaining log supply, which mid-November expects.
On Monday, Idaho Forest Group officials informed employees at the St. Regis mill of the decision. In 2017, the Coeur d’Alene-based company purchased the St. Regis mill.
“We made some investments back in January 2020, but it’s not cost-competitive with any of our newer mills,” said Tom Schultz, an IFG vice president. “When the market went up, we were able to mask some of the issues we were facing.“.With lumber prices returning to normal, the mill cannot operate without losing money right now, he said.
According to Schultz, the St. Regis facility has failed to meet production goals due to outdated equipment and difficulty finding workers. The mill makes construction lumber like 2x4s and 2×6 studs. Loggers, trucker jobs, and other contract workers will also be affected by the closure.
According to Schultz, the Idaho Forest Group has 40 job openings in Idaho, so that some employees may relocate. Employees will also be assisted with job fairs, resume writing, and interview coaching. Idaho Forest Group is the owner of six lumber mills and is currently constructing a sawmill in Mississippi.
Source: U.S. News & World Report