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REPORTING · 16th December 2010
Walter McFarlane
Alcan ended the year with a big announcement, Tuesday, December 14th, at a forum for vendors and suppliers. Approximately 70 local contractors were invited to the forum and the Kitimat Valley Institute (KVI) parking area was packed.

The day began with an announcement from Jacynthe Côté, CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan and Jean Simon, president, Primary Metal North America who attended by video conference from Sagony, Quebec. This was followed with a Contractors Forum for the Kitimat Modernization Project and a Contractor Forum for BC Operations. This was to bring people together while giving them information for the New Year.

The announcement was made to the media by Paul Henning, Vice President of BC Operations and strategic projects, and Michel Lamar, Project Director for KMP project.

“We announced two milestones of two significant projects. The first one of course being the most important to us is right here in Kitimat. Additional 300 million dollars to accelerate the works plant to 2011 and secondly, but not insignificantly, a significant investment in our AP60 Technology development which will be installed in the existing site in Saguenay Quebec,” said Henning.

“This is a big year, it is a lot of work for us, it is a lot of activity in Kitimat, it is a lot of activity in the region. We know there’s work. It’s going to get a lot of people busy, it’s going to bring a lot of people into town,” said Lamar.

The 300 million will be spent to clear lines 7 and 8. Other projects include the building of a 500 person camp and relocating of workers located within the foot print of the future smelter. The camp will consist of 500 beds and will be built for up to 1500 beds.

Construction will also begin on the reduction building. This is money which has been confirmed for aspects of the project. This is still not full board approval but Henning stated he believes this will come through in 2011.

All this is expected to be carried out without disrupting the operations at the Kitimat smelter and keeping the current plant operating. A part of this plan is to continue with zero injuries and progress with compliance and performance.

Henning stated the recent article concerning the potential sale of several of Rio Tinto’s Alcan assets was encouraging because the investment portfolio was what was announced, referring to the future of the Kitimat Modernization.

When asked if the community of Kitimat was ready for this, Henning replied: “I think so. Kitimat is a town that has been through all this before. It’s an industrial town. From us in the 50’s to West Fraser/Eurocan in the 60’s to Ocelot/Methanex in the 80’s, the only thing I can say is it has been a while.”

Henning said they were talking with NHA (Northern Health), RCMP and the Fire Department to make sure they have everything in place for a safe, integrated project. Kitimat’s vacancy rate has also been taken into account. Lamar said they will be looking at putting people into hotels, rentals and vacant buildings as well. RTA is making sure the hospital understands the number of people which are coming to Kitimat. Lamar estimated the total number of workers at 1500.

In addition, a $750 million dollar announcement was made in Quebec for the AP50 plant which will be built there. This plant is a pilot project with 38 pots producing 60 thousand tonnes of aluminium.

The Rio Tinto Alcan executive thanked the contractors for the work they have already done as it puts them on schedule and for maintaining a safe work place. “I’d like to thank you for your support, I’d like to thank the community for their support also, It’s with that that it makes our life easier,” said Lamar.

Henning expressed he was thrilled with the contractors and their ability to deliver with a first class safety performance.

“It’s tremendously exciting,” said Henning. “Kitimat is right at the front. The Kitimat Modernization project is right at the leading edge of that and recognized as a part of Rio Tinto’s global portfolio for major investment and major footprint for the next 40-55 years. For us to be part of that process is huge. […] It’s everything we hoped that this project would be.”

Alcan will have spent 350 million dollars by the end of 2010 and they expect to spend an additional 300 million dollars next year.
Believe it when you see it
Comment by Phil Germuth on 16th December 2010
Fact - There's only one thing Paul Henning has consistently done as RTA's liason to the people of BC since the day he got here - LIE over and over again.