Harmac Pacific Pulp Mill: A Local Success Story

BC’s coast is home to a bounty of rich and diverse timber resources – and adding value to them has always been an integral part of the coastal forest products sector in BC.

From pulp to cabinets to custom-engineered flooring, communities across the coastal region are leading the way in wood product manufacturing. Value-added and manufacturing operations play an important part of a sustainable forest sector in BC by providing good employment opportunities for workers and their families.

Many value-added leaders are also pillars of employment in their communities. One example of which is Harmac Pacific.

Nanaimo’s Harmac Pacific Pulp Mill has seen its fair share of change over its 60+ year history, but one constant is the mill’s importance to the local economy. As a base of value-added forestry operations, a large proportion of Nanaimo’s forestry sector jobs are accounted for by wood and paper manufacturing.

Harmac has been exporting pulp to world markets since the 1950s. Supplied by Douglas fir, hemlock, balsam, and western red cedar, the mill produces Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp – a key component in many types of paper products. Helped by its strategic port location on the east coast of Vancouver Island, a high share of Harmac’s products are shipped to markets overseas. In fact, over 80% of sales are accounted for by the Asia-Pacific region alone.

In recent years, Harmac has taken steps to secure its future as a major local employer and long-time fixture of Vancouver Island’s forest products industry. When Harmac fell on hard times in 2008 during the global recession, employees banded together to purchase the mill alongside local investment groups – securing the future of a Vancouver Island fixture of wood and paper manufacturing.

Harmac Pacific is only one mill amongst many throughout BC’s coastal region, but it is a staple of its many businesses that together make up the forest products sector. Along with sustainable harvesting, and a similarly vibrant network of secondary manufacturers, the future of BC’s coast as a manufacturing centre looks bright.

To learn more about Harmac Pacific, visit their website.