An update on what’s happening with Kitimat Modernization

Paul Henning provides an update on construction at the modernized aluminum smelter in Kitimat.

Paul Henning says his committement to not reduce Rio Tinto Alcan’s workforce through layoffs has held.

The vice president of RTA’s strategic projects Western Canada said that it’s not been easy but retirements and early retirements have held as the means to bring the smelter from 1,500 workers to around 1,000, he said.

“Credit to the operations folks, management and the union to make sure that is the case,” he said, speaking via teleconference from Vancouver.

Henning provided an update on modernization, saying that work is at least 50 per cent completed on the project, perhaps close to 60 per cent.

He said the schedule remains effectively the same. The new plant will begin being energized by the end of 2014, and full production will ramp up in the early parts of 2015.

He explained it’s a normal procedure, as an aluminum smelter doesn’t start up as easily as a sawmill would.

“It’s not like starting a sawmill or a paper mill. It doesn’t all come on. We have 384 individual electrolysis cells that will be started up in sequence at a rate of anywhere between five and 15 a week, so it takes time,” he said.

Speaking on the spending slowdown which RTA announced late last year, he said while spending slowed, construction didn’t, and a mild winter benefited the project in some ways.

“In some regards we probably accelerated certain elements of the physical construction,” he said, partly through the lack of snow.

Right now there are about 1,200 workers on the project, with 1,000 of those living in the camp. He said 300 people working on the project but not in the camp come from the Kitimat and Terrace area.

“This is by far a Canadian worker-driven project,” he said, saying many other workers are from Canada, mostly from B.C.

He didn’t specifically say how many were temporary foreign workers from the United States.

As for the ongoing issue of increased sulphur dioxide (SO2) levels at the new plant, he said that the company did receive their amended environmental permit, but an appeal process has been initiated.

He repeated earlier statements from others in the company that while SO2 is increasing about 56 per cent overall, the per tonne emissions are remaining the same from the old smelter, and the increase of 27 tonnes a day to 42 is a factor of higher production.

With last year’s signing of a new labour agreement with the CAW 2301 union, he said they’ll be set in that regard to 2017. He said that the rest of 2013, on the operations side, will be finding workers their new roles in the new smelter, and then in 2015 will be pushing hard on new training.

“That’s tight,” he said of the timeline. “It’s a challenge because you can’t go too early because we still have the old plant to run…can’t go too early because those people would be trained but not have the new plant to use the new skills on.”

The smelter rebuild is budgeted at an estimated $3.3 billion dollars, not including the second tunnel at the Kemano powerhouse.

Just Posted

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

The Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre will be closed from June 28 until September 13 for annual facility maintenance as well as teach pool and decking repairs. (Black Press photo)
Sam Lindsay Aquatic Centre closed: June 28 – September 13

The aquatic centre will be closed for annual facility maintenance

Shoes are being left at the viewpoint on Haisla Blvd in response to the 215 bodies discovered at the Kamloops Residential School. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
Haisla Nation responds to 215 Indigenous children found buried at the site of Kamloops Indian Residential School

“Many Haisla children were sent far away, to places such as Port Alberni, and to Coqualeetza”

Susan Jay hosted a plant and garage sale on May 25 and donated all of her proceeds to the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation to help with the purchase of a new bus for residents at Mountain View Lodge, Delta King and the new Kitimat Valley Housing Society dementia home. (Barbara Campbell photo)
KGHF thanks Susan Jay for her help to purchase a new bus for seniors in multi-level care

Susan donated all proceeds to KGHF, her efforts netted the hospital foundation a total of $1,760

An example of what a mural would look like on the back wall on Ron’s Bait and Tackle Store which faces the courtyard and sidewall. The mural photos shown here are mock-ups of existing artwork on walls of interest in the downtown core to build anticipation within the community about the concept of murals. The KPAA will not necessarily be using these locations or this artwork for the actual murals. (KPAA photo)
Kitimat Public Art Alliance mural funding request denied

D’Andrea suggested she will come back to the council at a later date with a more concrete plan

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

St. Joseph's Mission site is located about six kilometres from Williams Lake First Nation. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake First Nation to search residential school site for unmarked graves

St. Joseph’s Mission Indian Residential School operated from 1886 to 1981

Most Read