Kitimat smelter modernisation gets full approval

Being the premier of the province or CEO of a division of a multi-national company may be positions of power.

Being the premier of the province or CEO of a division of a multi-national company may be positions of power.

But last Thursday Mother Nature showed she was the ultimate boss, producing a white-out at the Northwest regional airport which prevented Christy Clark and Jacynthe Cote from attending the Rio Tinto Alcan announcement about the Kitimat Modernisation Project.

However, in the best traditions, the show went on.

And the more than 200 people who packed the dining hall of the construction camp – converted into an auditorium for the event – rose as one to deliver a prolonged standing ovation when Jean Simon, president of Primary Metal for RTA, said the magic words: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is formally a go.”

Simon told the crowd that the Rio Tinto board of directors had officially approved an additional $2.7 billion to take KMP to completion.

That was in addition to the more than $600 million spent to date.

Simon said KMP fit with Rio Tinto Alcan’s focus on “Long life, large scale, low cost assets.”

And that the Kitimat smelter had leveraged two of RTA’s greatest competitive advantages: “clean, self-generated hydro power and leading edge AP technology.

“Once completed, Kitimat will be one of the lowest cost smelters in the world,” he emphasized.

It would also guarantee 1,000 long term jobs while generating many spin-offs for local businesses and the community as well as tax revenues for the municipality.

The new smelter will produce about 420,000 tonnes per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 50 per cent.

Simon said RTA would be making every effort to ensure local suppliers and businesses continued to benefit as much as possible “now and in the future.”

Likening the final approval to an early Christmas present, he added, “I am thrilled to bring such good news to Kitimat.”

Mayor Joanne Monaghan pointed out, “This is an announcement our community has been waiting for for a very, very long time – and we are really happy to be here to celebrate.”

Recalling the closures in recent years of Methanex and Eurocan, Monaghan said the go-ahead for KMP means that the aluminum business is here to stay for the next 35 to 50 years.

And she credited RTA with contributing to the rush of interest in Kitimat from other sectors such as liquefied natural gas exports and bio-mass.

Monaghan said RTA’s initial multi-million dollar investments in KMP had let the world know that Kitimat was “a strategic place to invest.”

She also thanked Paul Henning, vice-president of BC Operations and Strategic Project Western Canada, and his team for standing by Kitimat during difficult times.

Michel Lamarre, RTA’s project director for the modernisation, said first metal in the new smelter will be poured in the first half of 2014.

On the immediate horizon was the expansion of the construction camp. That would take place in January taking the capacity to 1,500 workers.

Asked about the potential crush of projects here and wether that would present problems for KMP, Henning said, “the good news is we’re first. The folks that grab the ball usually have a chance.”

 

He also suggested that given the proposed timelines of the various projects, the region was in for an extended period of boom.

 

 

Just Posted

PHOTO GALLERY: Malicous Monster Truck Tour

The Malicious Monster Truck Tour sold out to crowds of 2,500 people… Continue reading

North Coast fishing grounds key to orca recovery: DFO

Plan marks waters from Langara to Rose Spit as critical habitat for northern resident killer whales

Chris Green, mother of scouts, passes away

Green, who was born near Kitimat, spent more than 60 years volunteering with Scouts Canada

Intertidal Music Festival back for round two

More than 20 performances throughout the day at the North Pacific Cannery on July 21

Alberta man missing on Kitimat River found dead

Body found on July 11 after going missing on July 7

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

RV insurance costs $1,000 more in B.C. than in Alberta: taxpayers group

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

A brother’s determination pushes B.C. cyclist to ride 2,500 km for heart care

#Cunnycan: Ryan Cunningham ‘pushing the envelope’ to support brother Craig’s foundation

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Lower Mainland blueberry farms expect solid season

Blueberry Council of B.C. says season will be better than last year

B.C. to add hundreds of taxis, delays Uber, Lyft-style service again

Ride hailing companies have to wait until fall of 2019 to apply for licences

Most Read