Vale Inco deal set

Lo­cal con­trac­tors hop­ing for work

The Compass - - NEWS - BY EL­IZ­A­BETH MACDON­ALD

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.

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