Vale Inco deal set
Local contractors hoping for work
The province has officially inked a deal on the construction of a commercial hydromet plant at Long Harbour with Vale Inco.
The deal, which was originally reached Jan. 29, will see work begin this April.
Natural Resources Minister Kathy Dunderdale announced the formalization of the deal March 25.
“With the official documents in place, we look forward to the start of this project and the significant increase in local employment it will bring to the Placentia Bay region,” said Dunderdale. “The formal legal agreements are now in place to cement the agreement-in-principle negotiated to ensure the project’s timely start along the new timelines for a February 2013 completion date and the accompanying monitoring requirements over that time.”
Placentia Mayor Bill Hogan said it does mean that people can stop worrying that the project won’t come, but now there are new things to worry about.
“I think there will be lots of benefit once the thing is up and operating, opportunities for employment and maybe some opportunities for local suppliers, but during construction, I’m not seeing that happening,” Mayor Hogan stated.“I’m talking local contractors.”
He said some local businesses are finding it difficult to meet the agenda of the proposal calls that are out.
“If we go back a number of years, we were raided in this community by emissaries of Inco at the time. They came here and had public meeting after public meeting.
“They called in all the suppliers and talked about the great benefits that were going to come with the construction of this plant and how well the local suppliers and... those who would be looking for a job... how they should be prepared, and they should be doing this and they should be doing that and here’s the success in other communities,” explained the Placentia mayor.
“It sounds great. I have not seen that and I hear from contractors for recent jobs that have been called down there, and contractors and suppliers are saying to me that they are having great difficulty in addressing the fine print and the agenda of the proposals that have been put out there for work,” he said.
“It’s a big issue in that local contractors are cynical and continue to be cynical. They’ve been waiting for this day to come and they’re not sure they are going to get work down there.”
The development agreement includes established timelines for the project to start, enhanced local benefits and greater protection of the province’s resources. It also reflects Vale Inco’s commitment to an employment target of 8.9 million total person hours within the province, which is 77 per cent of the total project employment and to paying the island industrial rate for the power supply — two significant gains over the original agreement, according to a Natural Resources press release from March 25, 2009.
Vale Inco is expected to submit its final implementation plan for the project on March 31.
“Initial work at the site will begin in April with site clearing and demolition work and we look forward to reaching the six project milestones committed by the company for the first half of this year,” Minister Dunderdale said.
Construction on the plant should be completed by February 2013.
The capital cost of the processing-plant project is estimated at about US$2.17-billion.
For more information on the development agreement, visit the website at www.gov.nl.ca/releases/2009/exe c/0129n08.htm.