AbstractPrimary refined coarse softwood thermomechanical pulp was treated with alkaline peroxide prior to low-consistency (LC) refining. The effects of the pre-treatments on pulp quality, refinability, and electrical energy consumption were assessed. Four pre-treatments were conducted with alkali charges of 2.5 and 6% and peroxide charges of 3 and 4%. The pulps were refined to specific energies up to 600 kWh/t by multiple passes through an LC refiner at intensities of 90 and 150 kWh/t. It was found that alkaline peroxide treatments increased tear strength and protected the fibre from cutting, especially during high intensity refining below a specific energy of 300 kWh/t. Treatment with 6% NaOH and 4% or 3% H2O2 led to lower brightness gains and scattering coefficients but increased the tensile strength index by 31%, potentially lowering the total electrical energy required to achieve strong pulp. The enhancement of tensile strength caused by the highly alkaline peroxide mostly resulted from increased bonding, which was attributable to acid group generation rather than the promotion of further fibrillation during LC refining.