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Gerry Hummel drawing, in full size, attached below.
COMMENTARY · 1st December 2009
Walter McFarlane
It seems that for Rio Tinto Alcan executives, being able to speak safely when Kitimat or Terrace Daily Staff are not present is becoming a bit of a trend. Recently, on November 25th, Rio Tinto Alcan met with contractors and suppliers to give them a heads up on the work that they will be putting out to tender in 2010.

"While global and market economics continue to be challenged, contract work continues on KMP and at BC Operations Operations," said Colleen Nyce.

So far, that is all we have been able to find out about the meeting. As it was such an uneventful meeting, then it’s safe to assume that nothing really important happened at it… Then again, the Kitimat Daily Staff learned about the meeting after watching it take place on CFTK News. Not to mention that if you look carefully at their opening shot, Marcel Vander Wier from the Northern Sentinel is sitting front and centre.

I guess the Kitimat Daily’s invitation was lost in the mail…

That does not matter. All it really does is destroy Alcan’s credibility on the issues raised at the meeting because they only invited the two journalist publications which they are sponsoring. As we are all aware, journalism is becoming a occupation which is more dedicated to their sponsors then to the truth.

And what is the truth in this matter? Frankly, we don’t know. However, after reviewing the CFTK report, viewable in their video vault for November 25th, 2009 under “RTA Contractors,” it is not hard to find some very interesting tidbits of information.

I recall that right from the start of that news clip, Jeff Sergeant reminds us that this is not official approval. As reported by John Crawford, one RTA representative pointed out that 2009 has been a good year for a project. We at Kitimat Daily are pleased to hear this and would hate to see a bad year. After all, wasn’t the project slowed down due to the financial crisis and average price of aluminium?

As reported, there were two big accomplishments this year, site preparation and a change in the plant’s layout from 6 potlines to 4. This would be the second change to the plant’s layout for 2009. After all, Paul Henning reported to Kitimat City Council in July of 2009 that there would only be one pot line.

As reported on CFTK News, there were several million dollars worth of projects up for bid in 2010. This is good news unless you recall that the modernization was a 2 billion dollar project. Several million in investment is nothing compared to the 2 billion investment.

Of course, as reported on the 6:00 news, a majority of that investment is going right into the power plant at Kemano for upgrades. The need for this project has been reported by Terrace Daily editor, Merv Ritchie, in several articles concerning the upgrades to the transmission lines in the Northwest for the last several months.

Of course, this report should raise many concerns with Kitimat Citizens, or as CFTK calls us, Doubters, over when the community will see the modernization. Alcan is still saying that the Modernization will proceed. However, as reported by CFTK, the question everyone is asking is when.

The Kitimat Daily sent a request to Rio Tinto Alcan for details on Wednesday evening. We received the single sentence from Nyce reproduced at the beginning of this article. Thursday afternoon, we requested further information. As of our deadline, we have not heard anything back.