Long-standing Nanaimo chemical plant to close

Canexus chemical plant will be closed by year’s end

A Nanaimo chemical plant that has been operating for more than five decades will close its doors at the end of the year.

Canexus chemical plant, located on 1200 Macphee Rd. in the Duke Point industrial area, will shut down by Dec. 31, resulting in the eventual loss of 20 full-time jobs.

Gerald de Jong, president of Public and Private Workers of Canada Local 8, said four members from his union have already been laid off and another 10 members will be out of work. He said six salaried staff members will also be let go and that all affected employees likely have to move elsewhere to find employment.

“It is very hard on 14 people who have good-paying jobs in the community,” he said. “Now they have to uproot and go elsewhere.”

Canexus, which has been operating under various names in Nanaimo since the 1950s, was purchased by Chemtrade Logistics Inc., a Ontario-based chemical company that supplies sulfuric acid, sodium nitrite and phosphorus pentasulfide to companies across North America. De Jong said Chemtrade Logistics has offered the affected workers positions at their other plants in the province, which are all located off Vancouver Island.

“The closest one is maybe Vancouver,” he said. “There is one in Prince George but how many people want uproot and go away that far?”

De Jong said Canexus is a major supplier to Harmac Pacific’s Nanaimo pulp mill. He said the closure isn’t just going to impact plant workers, but also other companies that did business with Canexus.

“There are the suppliers and the truck drivers who haul the product to the other mills like Port Alberni and whatnot,” he said. “They’ll be losing business.”

Chemtrade Logistics has not yet informed de Jong about plans for the site once the plant closes, but that those affected will receive severance packages.


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