Opal Australian Paper has provided an update to its white paper production following the VicForests situation, which has continued to create supply challenges for its Maryvale Mill.

The company said while it is pursuing substitute wood supply possibilities, the situation is expected to impact white paper production on or around 23 December.

“The lack of VicForests’ wood supply continues to create challenges for the Maryvale Mill. As a result, Opal Australian Paper is continuing to undertake extensive investigations into alternative wood supplies,” it said.

“This is a complex situation and to be viable the alternative supplies must match a range of strict criteria including species, availability, volume, cost, logistics and long-term supply.

“To date, suitable alternatives have not been identified, however we will continue to work through this process as quickly and thoroughly as we can.”

The company confirmed that there are currently no stand downs in place, but anticipates temporary stand downs for some workgroups which may commence in January 2023.

“As the availability of viable alternative wood supply remains uncertain, Opal is considering several different operational scenarios in the longer-term, in the case that viable alternative supply is below the required volume or not able to be supplied,” it said.

“This is a complex and ever-changing situation and no longer-term decisions on operational changes have been made at this stage. We are continuing to consult with our affected team members on these critical issues.

“Opal is also continuing to work through this situation as a priority with our valued customers and suppliers, particularly with respect to any possible longer term market impacts.

“We appreciate this is a very difficult and unsettling time and we remain committed to keeping our team members and key stakeholders updated on the situation as it develops.”

Office Brands CEO Adam Joy recently said due to these circumstances, hundreds of SMBs including printers, office products stores and newsagents across Australia are expected to run out of paper products over the coming weeks.

“The suspension of timber harvesting in Victoria as a result of a court injunction on the Victorian Government-owned timber company VicForests, means that a major local paper manufacturer is expected to stop production in the coming days,” he said.

“This will have a serious and immediate impact on paper supplies across the country.”

This article was originally printed at https://www.sprinter.com.au