Norske Skog is closing its Albury newsprint mill business, with the assets including the mill itself to be sold to Visy, Australia’s largest paperboard manufacturer.
Visy plans to undertake feasibility studies into options for use on the Albury site, with the intention to manufacture paperboard The sale price of the assets is $85m.
The mill produces 265,000 tonnes of newsprint each year, but has fallen victim to the plummeting demand for newspapers, with national, suburban and regional papers all seeing pagination and circulation shrinkage.
All 185 workers at the site are being made redundant by Norske Skog. Its closure is not a surprise to the workers. Paper industry website IndustryEdge reports that the leadership of the regional company (Norske Skog Australasia) examined all of the available options to continue operating the thirty-eight year old mill.
Eventually, it came down to just two options: a closure with no potential for future employment and regional economic activity, or a sale with opportunities for a different future. It chose the latter path.
The papermaking machine at Albury is the largest in the region, Norske Skog has two others with smaller capacity, one each in Tasmania and New Zealand. Tim Woods at IndustryEdge says such was the drop in demand for newsprint that the larger machine had to go.