NEED TO KNOW MAY 2014 • VOL. 1 ISSUE 2
NORTHWEST B.C. INDUSTRY
Brass ring turns out to be wood
COAST TSIMSHIAN PARTNERSHIP HAILED AS COMMUNITY SAVIOUR
VANDERHOOF SET TO HOST B.C. MINING’S BIGGEST EVENT
Up in the air
INDUSTRY KEY TO GROWTH AT TERRACE’S YXT AIRPORT
Social Licence WET’SUWET’EN - UTM SIGN PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT
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NEED TO KNOW
Publisher Todd Hamilton Editor-in-Chief Shaun Thomas Prince Rupert Ed Evans, Sales Lisa Thomas, Sales Terrace Rod Link, Editor Brian Lindenbach, Sales Bert Husband, Sales Erin Bowker, Sales Kitimat Louisa Genzale, Sales Cameron Orr, Editor Smithers Grant Harris, Sales Nick Briere, Sales Ryan Jensen, Editor Houston Mary-Anne Ruiter, Sales Jackie Lieuwen, Reporter Burns Lake Laura Blackwell, Sales Steven Maisey, Editor Fort St. James Pam Berger, Sales Ruth Lloyd, Editor Vanderhoof Pam Berger, Sales Sam Redding, Editor
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N2K is a Black Press publication mailed or delivered by carrier to 33,500 homes and businesses throughout Northwest B.C. Our Head Office is located at 737 Fraser Street, Prince Rupert, B.C., V8J 1R1 250-624-8088 Fax: 250-624-8085
NORTHWEST B.C.’S INDUSTRY MAGAZINE
he reception we received for our first N2K last month was nothing less than overwhelming. The feedback from industry insiders from across Canada and from Northwest B.C. readers was virtually unanimous — a publication such as N2K has been long overdue. Over the coming months, N2K will continue to focus on Northwest B.C.’s growing resource development sectors including energy, mining and transportation, as well as the longtime economic backbone of the region — forestry and agriculture. The articles will highlight industry best practices and the short and long-term community benefits to be gained from a strong and sustainable Northwest B.C. industry sector. In our cover story, Shaun Thomas investigated the Coast Tsimshian Resources success story, who took a chance as the forestry industry stumbled. That chance has paid off for the North Coast First Nation in major social and economic benefits. Ryan Jensen explores the new and necessary way of doing business in Northwest B.C. in his article on the joint partnership between UTM, a mining exploration company, and the Wet’suwet’en. Houston’s Jackie Lieuwen outlines the challenge Huckleberry Mine faced and the creative solution they found after a breakdown that could have shut down the operation for several months. Sam Redding gives us a heads-up on Northern B.C.’s biggest mining event — Minerals North — in Vanderhoof later this month and Walter Strong updates us about Pinnacle Renewable Resource’s $5 million investment in Burns Lake air quality. Rod Link took manager Carman Hendry aside to spotlight the tremendous growth the Northwest Regional Airport in Terrace is currently and expected to experience. Kitimat’s Cameron Orr had a chance to discuss what’s on the books for Northwest B.C. with Consulting Engineering Companies of B.C. CEO and president Keith Sashaw — and the number will amaze you. These are but a few of the articles to be found in this month’s issue of N2K. Please enjoy. Todd Hamilton N2K Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org
View our e-version for free at: www.thenorthernview.com/eeditions
Volume 1 • Issue 2
IN THIS ISSUE
WOOD RING Profiling Coast Tsimshian success 7
SOCIAL LICENCE WET’SUWET’EN, UTM SIGN UP 12
THE COMEBACK Burns Lake mill rises from the ashes 14
ABOVE & BEYOND LNG project going extra mile 16
HUCKLEBERRY FIX Houston mine back running 20
MINERALS NORTH Vanderhoof hosts top mining event 21
YXT GROWTH NW Regional airport booming 22
BILLIONS BABY Leading economists provide update 24
NEW SCRUBBER Cleaning up Burns Lake air quality 25
SWEET HOME Worker housing project begins 26
UNDER WATER How they will lay LNG pipelines 27
LINING UP Interest grows in industrial park 28
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The brass ring made out of Coast Tsimshian Resources project hailed as community’s saviour By Shaun Thomas
hen Skeena Sawmills closed in 2007, many believed it was just another nail in the coffin for Prince Rupert and Terrace’s forestry industry. For Lax Kw’alaams band manager Wayne Drury, he instead believed it was an opportunity for his community to make a grab for the brass ring — or in this case — a wood ring. Working in concert with Lax Kw’alaams Mayor Garry Reece, Drury made a longshot bid on Tree Farm Licence 1 (TFL1), which encompasses 2.6 million hectares to the north, east and west of Terrace. Little did they know then the bid would not only change the
industry but the community of Lax Kw’alaams itself. The successful bid was the start of what is now Coast Tsimshian Resources (CTR), a company that creates 110 jobs in the region and puts an estimated $1.2 million per month into the Northwest economy. “The principals behind CTR had faith in this opportunity. They took a chance and made it work,” said CTR general manager Dave Jackson. “Wayne Drury and Garry Reece basically put together a harvesting plan, hooked up with a woodlands contractor and started to reanimate the industry. They had to basically start from scratch and create relationships with loggers, with truckers, with environmental permitting entities and so forth ... others had been doing it, but not First Nations. “This is groundbreaking for First Nations. No First Nations had ever taken on anything of this scale.”
N2K PROFILE • COAST TSIMSHIAN RESOURCES
“When they started up, the very first load of logs they got was from CTR and, in fact, it was a Lax Kw’alaams band member driving the truck.” LOOKING TO ASIA
CTR looked at that and purchased the debarker down in Prince Rupert,” he said, adding the debarker opened additional markets. “It was a fundamental element of the early stages of the China marketplace because there is only one port that could fumigate logs ... in the early days, CTR thought strategically to add the debarker so that not only could you get more logs on a ship volume and weightwise, you also could access additional ports.”
While mills in the immediate vicinity of TFL1 were closing down, Drury and Reece were looking well beyond the region for customers. “They started a modest harvesting plan, which I believe is 600,000 cubic metres, with the anticipation that China would become a market for export logs,” said Jackson. Aside from simply planning to ship logs to China, CTR wasted no time CLOSER TO HOME in setting up an office in Beijing to speak directly to Shipping logs to Asia customers and market the was certainly a sustainable benefits of Canadian logs. business model, but CTR While the office has since wanted to make sure the moved to Shanghai, CTR people of the Northwest as now ships logs to Japan and a whole also saw benefits Korea in addition to longfrom the band’s business standing customers in China. endeavours. But the options Shortly after beginning to create employment moving logs abroad, CTR were limited, at least they took another step to securing were until ROC Holdings its footing in the Asian purchased and restarted the marketplace as it partnered shuttered mill on Hwy 16. with Tidal Coast Terminals “We were trying to find and a log broker to purchase an opportunity for secondary a log-debarker for its Prince manufacturing and that never Rupert log export terminal. really presented itself until It’s something Jackson said Teddy Cui bought Skeena. is another example of the We had been working with foresight of the company Teddy and Skeena to supply Coast Tsimshian Resources woodlands manager Ryan founders. them with wood within the Keswick stands beside a log ready to be processed at the “They saw there would timber profile that makes sorting yard in Terrace. be a premium if a log was sense,” said Jackson. debarked. There is an “When they started up, implication when you export the very first load of logs a raw log that, if it has bark they got was from CTR and, on it, there is a concern around the beetle — not the pine in fact, it was a Lax Kw’alaams band member driving beetle — but there are other destructive insects within the truck. That was a fantastic day for Terrace, for the bark and other countries didn’t want that going out. sawmill and for the whole Northwest.”
N2K PROFILE • COAST TSIMSHIAN RESOURCES
“They had a lot of teen suicides, a lot of terrible social problems and high unemployment. Once Wayne and Garry developed this robust economic development plan ... [the project] gave everyone a sense of hope and optimism and the ability to say,‘we can do it’.” A COMMUNITY SAVIOUR
SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS
Coast Tshimshian Resources is creating jobs and benefits across the region, but perhaps the biggest beneficiaries are the people of Lax Kw’alaams. The community may be hundreds of kilometres from where the trees are felled, but Jackson said the impact of the company on residents cannot be understated. “This has been a tremendous window of hope for the community of Lax Kw’alaams. Prior to 2004, the community was suffering from a lack of hope and aspiration. They had a lot of teen suicides, a lot of terrible social problems and high unemployment. Once Wayne and Garry developed this robust economic development plan and started to implement it, the very fact that the band could stand up and say ‘we have our own logging company’ gave everyone a sense of hope and optimism and the ability to say ‘we can do it’,” he said.
Since CTR began operations, the Lax Kw’alaams Band has restarted and upgraded its fish processing plant, which has a payroll of more than $1.5 million through the employment of 225 people in the community. While not directly related, Jackson said he believes this success can also be traced to the success of the timber operations of CTR. “I don’t think the confidence the Lax Kw’alaams Band has now would have existed without Coast Tsimshian Resources. They just have a different perspective and more of a ‘can-do’ attitude permeates the community,” he said.
SEE PAGE 10
N2K PROFILE • COAST TSIMSHIAN RESOURCES
“We see every piece of fibre as an asset. Every piece of fibre in the bush has a value and needs to be utilized.” STRIVING FOR “SUPER-UTILIZATION” When asked about the future of CTR, Jackson wastes little time in pointing out the creation of a marketable use for every piece of fibre on the land. “We see every piece of fibre as an asset. Every piece of fibre in the bush has a value and needs to be utilized. If you look back in logging, it has gotten a bad reputation because it is seen as being wasteful. This was perhaps necessary when facilities and marketplaces didn’t exist for these materials ... in our future we want to see some kind of, the term I use is super-utilization, of the fibre basket,” he said. But making use of the maximum amount of harvestable material possible isn’t something CTR plans to take on themselves. To that end, Jackson said partnerships will be key. “In terms of growth, I see that being in the form of relationships with entities that have specialized benefits that they bring to the relationship ... we will grow, but not necessarily by taking on the skill sets that others have,” he said.
One such partnership is one reached with Pinnacle Renewable Resources to construct a wood pellet plant in Terrace. Jackson said the construction of the plant is an example of how CTR plans to ensure the region benefits from industry cooperation. “Our relationship with Pinnacle will be one where we focus on woodland management and they focus on what they do best, which is producing pellets and selling them. It is the same with Skeena; we will focus on woodland management and they focus on sawmilling,” he explained. “The industry is too lean and it is too challenging to venture into areas where others already exist. We have to work more cooperatively than be in competition with each other.” Through the vision of its founders and its willingness to work with industry partners to the benefit of all, Coast Tsimshian Resources is securing a future for forestry in a region that was once a hub for the sector. -N2K
The important road to hiring locally The process to build a liquefied natural gas plant and marine terminal takes the involvement of a few people. Or rather, a few thousand people. Take the proposed LNG Canada project, a joint-venture lead by Shell Canada, along with PetroChina, KOGAS, and Mitsubishi Corporation. That single project, perhaps the largest proposed for the Northwest of British Columbia, anticipates a peak construction workforce of around 5,500 people. When that wraps up, the company thinks they’ll need at least 200, perhaps up to 400, people to keep it running. In short, it’s no simple matter of placing a classified ad in the local newspaper to get every person you need to get the project off the ground and flying. LNG Canada is committed to giving the benefits to local communities. That means as much as they can they want the businesses and people of Kitimat, Terrace, and Prince Rupert to benefit and get work with their project. Just in the construction phase they’ll need general labourers, skilled trades, engineers, technologists, machinists, camp services, transportation, and other general services. That’s not to mention the operational jobs of process operators, instrument and maintenance technicians and more. Perhaps it was no surprise, given this need, that LNG Canada’s Project Manager Marc Maeseele joined BC Premier Christy Clark, among representatives from First Nations, organized labour and LNG proponents, in an announcement April 3 which officially had the Premier accepting all 15 recommendations of the LNG Working Group that should set the path towards ensuring the province has the skilled labour it needs for its LNG hopes.
LNG Canada’s Guido Cenedese (at right) is a Kitimat-based employee who volunteered to judge the welding competition. Those recommendations encompass everything from creating an inventory of people currently in apprenticeship programs, to removing barriers to entry into training programs, to, simply, begin training people immediately to fill the need for LNG jobs. These recommendations will translate into actions which will get local communities the best opportunities in terms of labour, said Maeseele. “That is of course when the rubber hits the road, when you will see the impacts of these recommendations,” said Maeseele. The recommendations of the LNG Working Group really are set to enhance what LNG Canada already plans for their proposed project, and that’s getting people in the local
communities working on the project. “I would say LNG Canada clearly has a ‘hire local first’ commitment and when you look at the recommendations from the working group they really go in to ensure...that the LNG industry is offering to B.C. maximum benefit to workers in British Columbia, and it makes absolute sense. It makes sense for the industry, for LNG Canada to on the one hand invest in British Columbia but also to capture the talent and the local available workforce.” “You’re looking at having qualified resources from the community to operate and maintain these plants.” A jobs fact sheet for LNG Canada is available online at http://lngcanada.ca/lng-canada/lngjob-opps.
Students participate in the annual Skills BC Competition in Terrace at the Northwest Community College.
This space is a collaborative promotional venture by LNG Canada and N2K Editor Cameron Orr
Beautiful British Columbia
UTM & Wet’suwet’en 2014 By Ryan Jensen
new joint venture partnership signed in Smithers between UTM Exploration and the Office of the Wet’suwet’en highlights the importance of gaining social licence when doing business in Northwest B.C. “I think this agreement definitely builds on the concept of social licence,” David de Wit, Office of the Wet’suwet’en natural resources manager, said. “But within our relationship, it’s going to be more about implementing that social licence. We both bring
unique skills to the table and we think we can make a difference in the industry ... I think the Wet’suwet’en are turning a new page in our history and finding ways to work collaboratively with the community.” Social licence, by definition, is the need to gain acceptance and operational approval from communities and stakeholders by companies. Any mineral exploration opportunities proposed for Wet’suwet’en territory must earn a social licence to ensure the project meets First Nations’ environmental and employment expectations. SEE PAGE 13
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Ryan Jensen / N2K
David de Wit looks on as UTM Exploration owner and CEO Anastasia Ledwon, left, signs an agreement with Office of the Wet’suwet’en executive director Debbie Pierre. “The opportunities we will be pursuing are ones that our clan members have approved,” de Wit said.
“It creates a sense of certainty for industry and we see this relationship as a very innovative way to seize opportunities for our members and to ensure that we can make a difference as far as environmental stewardship goes ... we’re optimistic we can make a difference on the ground right away with this unique relationship. Some of the goals and aspirations we have had in terms of land stewardship can now not be just a concept, they can be implemented on the ground.” The partnership has been in the works for the last two years, said UTM Exploration owner and CEO Anastasia Ledwon. “One of our mandates is to lead by example.” Ledwon said. “We live here and we live with everyone here. Clients can be assured that when working with the joint venture, important ideals around lifestyle, community, environment and reclamation are being met because the Wet’suwet’en are involved with the work as employees or as representatives on the project. Clients can be assured that the work is being done appropriately because we’re all working together.”
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Burns Lake Rising from the ashes Babine Forest Products back to work after devastating loss By Shaun Thomas
ike the proverbial phoenix, Babine Forest Products is rising from the ashes to once again be an economic driver for those in the Burns Lake area.
The mill was entirely destroyed and the lives of two workers were lost when an explosion rocked the mill and the community on January 20, 2012. After two years and a significant investment, Babine Forest Products is producing lumber once more. #112-4401 BRISTOL RD, TERRACE V8G1P8
Hourly employees spent one month in the classroom and in mid-February began hands-on training with the new equipment. As of March, the mill was running a single shift with two operators at every station and supervisory assistance to help in the training and familiarization of the equipment. The planer also began operation in mid-March, with previous planer employees being called back. SEE PAGE 15
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“We believe 2014 will be a safe and successful year...” Out in the yard, the first shipment of logs arrived in December and more significant deliveries have been arriving every day. A new material handler, which has been on site for several months, was joined by a second material handler that arrived in early March. While there were up to 150 construction workers at Babine Forest Products during the rebuild, less than 40 remained in March to work on small components
and previously constructed items that needed further attention. With equipment running and staff in place, the company is looking to a positive year ahead with the restart of the mill. “We believe 2014 will be a safe and successful year for our B.C. operations and we are excited to start shipping lumber to customers,” reads a statement from the company.
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ABOVE AND BEYOND Good enough isn’t good enough for Pacific NorthWest LNG
ith the price tag for its liquefied natural gas terminal on Lelu Island expected to be in the neighbourhood of $11 billion, Pacific NorthWest LNG could easily look to meet the minimum requirements of the provincial and federal governments.
But that is not how president Greg Kist and the company operates. Pacific NorthWest LNG filed for its environmental assessment certificate on March 25 with a document that includes detailed plans and studies on everything from impacts to the marine and terrestrial environments to the impact on the economy and social
By Shaun Thomas programs of the region. A big part of that filing is registered professional biologist and environmental advisor Brian Clark, who outlined just some of the extra steps the company is taking to ensure the project is built in such a way that it mitigates any impact. PROTECTING OCEAN INHABITANTS Creating a 2.7-kilometre jetty trestle that leads to berthing facilities capable of handling large LNG tankers simply isn’t possible without disturbing marine mammals in the area. While the environmental assessment document notes most would be driven out of the area by the sound of pile-driving for the marine
loading dock in Porpoise Harbour, Pacific NorthWest LNG is being even more cautious when it comes to the waters of Hecate Strait. “For each species we have a level and the mitigation for that is the same for all of them: We are not going to be using pile-driving out at the berthing area. Within Porpoise Channel there may be some pile-driving, but we are going to be using vibratory drilling wherever possible. That doesn’t have a lot of noise. It is enough noise that they won’t come around, but it is not a noise that will harm them at all,” explained Clark. “We’re going to back that up, just to be safe. Whenever we are doing any sort of pile work out in the marine environment we will have marine mammal observers out there ... their job will be that whenever we do marine
PACIFIC NORTHWEST LNG AT A GLANCE • $11 billion investment • Located near Port Edward B.C • Environmental Assessment filed work, they will look out and whenever they catch sighting of marine mammals we will stop work until the animal has passed.” See Page 18
Blasting work will also be needed, but Clark said marine blasting regulations are strictly enforced by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “We won’t be doing any blasting when there are runs of salmon or fry going out ... it will be limited to a couple of months,” he said. WORKING WITH FIRST NATIONS Lelu Island is located on the traditional territory of the Tsimshian people, who have lived off the resources of the North Coast since time immemorial. While details are still being worked out, Pacific NorthWest LNG is working with the Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams to address their concerns both on the land and at sea. In fact, the company did not one but two studies on the archaeology of the site. “We have had two different studies because we didn’t like the answer in the first study. It seemed shallow so we had a second study done to ensure it was done right,” explained Clark. Terrestrially, Lelu Island is home to approximately 400 culturally modified trees (CMTs). Many of those trees will be preserved in a 30-metre buffer zone on the island, but the trees that need to be removed are being treated with respect to the people who used them. “The CMTs on the site that will be taken down, we are still working on protocol with the First Nations. Our first option will be to offer those trees to the First Nations ... obviously the trees mean more to the First Nations so that is why we are offering them the trees first and we will deliver them wherever they wish,” he explained. “Each tree will be cored so that they know the exact [age] of that tree and they know when the modification
happened. That is the archaeological record.” Another area where Pacific NorthWest LNG is working with First Nations relates to disposal-at-sea. Currently Brown’s Passage is the only site approved by Environment Canada, but Clark said not everyone is a fan of that option. “We are also working with the Metlakatla on a study looking at possible alternative sites. The Metlakatla said they would prefer it go elsewhere, so we said ‘OK, let’s talk to the elders about where they would like it to go and look at ocean conditions to see where it could go,” he said. “If there is a site that meets Environment Canada needs but also meets the needs of local First Nations, then we are going to pursue that.” PROTECTING THE ATMOSPHERE Powering a plant that will operate 24 hours per day, 365 days a year is no easy task. While many options are available to power the plant, Clark said Pacific NorthWest LNG is choosing one of the greener options. “We will be using aero-derivative engines, which are basically jet engines as opposed to a normal engine. They are much more fuel efficient and they are much cleaner so that all of our air emissions will be well below government standards with concern to air quality. It also uses less fuel so it reduces Greenhouse Gas emissions,” he said. “With air quality, we are very comfortable to say it meets all provincial regulations and there is no concern there.”
See Page 19
Much like the operational phase, construction on the 160 hectares of land will also be an around-the-clock activity. However, Clark said residents of nearby Port Edward shouldn’t be concerned about being kept up at night. “We have committed to making none of the large noises, such as pile driving or banging noises, during the night shift. During that time it will be more quiet maintenance and activities that don’t make much noise,” he explained. “You won’t hear it off the island.” CREATING A LEGACY Pacific NorthWest LNG plans to offset habitat lost through the clearing of the land as required by the government, but plans to go even further than that. “We will take extra steps, because Greg Kist and others don’t want to just do what we have do, we want to leave legacy stuff,” said Clark, noting the company would be returning to the community to host open houses about habitat creation. “We have some really nice ideas of our own that have to be tested from a geotechnical perspective. For the big projects, we want to do some neat stuff but we don’t want to assume we have all the good ideas ... we are willing to fund it to get it going, we are willing to be a participant, although we’re not saying we’ll be the lead because that should be the community. How can we create something that will go on for the next 20 to 30
years based on research and development that everyone gets involved in?” That habitat creation ideology extends into using the material dredged from the sea floor. Clark said Pacific NorthWest LNG is hoping to do more with it than simply disposal-at-sea. “We are looking at making better use of the dredged sediments. Instead of dumping it at Brown’s Passage, we want to use it to make more habitat. It is the same with the berthing site, we have some out-of-the-box ideas to create more habitat, that would use up pretty much all of the dredging,” he said. Pacific NorthWest LNG is hoping to lead the way for other projects in the region when it comes to environmental sustainability by going above and beyond what it needs to do. Clark said it’s one of the reasons the company is looking forward to feedback gained during the April 2 to May 1 public comment period and bringing the project, in its entirety, to the people of the Northwest.
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takes the bull by the horns
By Jackie Lieuwen
he mill at Huckleberry Mine is up-and running after a break down stopped its work for over a month.
“We’ve found a short-term solution through our various consultants and milling experts,” said Randall Thompson, vice-president of operations at Huckleberry Mines. “It’s a temporary solution until September, when we get a new gear onsite and installed in the mill.” The SAG mill at Huckleberry Mines was shut down from Feb. 26 to April 5 with a breakdown involving the bull gear — a gear involved in grinding large pieces of ore into smaller pieces. Ordering a bull gear takes four to six months, and Thompson said the company hopes this temporary solution will keep the mill running until that process is complete in September. “We’re continuing to stay positive that this solution will provide full operating until September, however there is elevated risk in terms of its efficiency. It’s not the same conditions that we expect for operation, so we’re managing it very closely with new operational parameters (restrictions),” he said. While the mill was shut down, mill employees were put
“You never know what the future will bring.” to work on upgrades and maintenance projects as well as helping find a temporary solution for the broken gear. “The focus has been to get the mill back to 100 per cent operational, which we’ve accomplished ... we did a lot of strategizing about how to best keep everybody employed and ensure the delivery of our mine plan for this year,” Thompson said. “Huckleberry has been operating for 15 years, employing people in the region, and we want to continue to do that and work closely with our employees in terms of developing strategies as we move forward.” “These are challenging times for our industry, with market conditions and increased rates in fuel and hydro. We’re always looking for opportunities for improvement, and you never know what the future will bring,” he said. “I can’t emphasize enough the appreciation that we have of all the work and the patience that everybody has demonstrated, that includes Huckleberry staff. We really want to thank the employees.”
Minerals North : Vanderhoof 2014 By Sam Redding
he eyes of the mining industry will be looking to Vanderhoof later this month as Minerals North takes place from May 21-
The annual conference, which moves around the region from year-to-year, brings community leaders together to learn about economic and policy issues impacting the minerals sector and ensures those in the industry are informed of local issues and community goals. Sue Clark, one of the organizers of the conference, said 2014 is the perfect time for Vanderhoof to step into the mineral spotlight. “Vanderhoof is at the centre of exciting developments in mining and mineral exploration with a long-term molybdenum mine that just expanded west of us, a new copper/gold mine in production north of us and significant gold, silver and molybdenum exploration activity to the
south of us,” she explained. This year’s conference, which carries the theme “The core of it all”, has over 260 delegates already registered and over 200 exhibitors attending. The program not only includes speakers as diverse as planning strategist Jim Bottomly and Osoyoos Band Chief Clarence Louie but a trade show with over 100 businesses involved. Part of linking the community to the industry, said Clark, is a two-hour window on May 22 when anyone who wants to can take in the otherwise closed-off trade show. “It is important that the community understands the industry and the focus of Minerals North. They have opened their community to our delegates. The two-hour window will allow us to open our conference to them,” she said. After being hosted in Terrace in 2013, Minerals North will move even further east when it is hosted in Mackenzie in 2015.
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Up in the
Northwest Regional Airport YXT lifting off with industry By Rod Link
orthwest Regional Airport manager Carman Hendry’s index finger runs along a series of red-coloured building shapes imposed upon a site map of the far eastern end of Bristol Road. “We have people interested in this parcel, in that parcel and in this parcel,” he says. The location is past the Hawkair complex, past the new hangar just completed by Canadian Helicopters and just past the Executive Flight Centre building. Should the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry even fulfill a portion of the speculation boom now underway in the region, this is going to be the wellspring of a new kind of venture at the airport. That’s because those red-coloured building shapes will be transformed into actual structures, built by the companies that will be arriving to service the various aspects of natural gas pipelines and LNG plant construction and, eventually, operation. Specifically, they’ll be passenger terminals operated for the thousands of workers arriving and departing on non-commercial flights who are connected to the LNG construction activities. “They’ll be built by those companies under lease agreements with us so that when they leave, we will own the buildings,” said Hendry. The purpose-built terminal buildings will be selfcontained with their own water and sewer systems.
The Northwest Regional Airport will even have a say in the design of the structures so that when the day comes when the buildings are no longer needed by LNG companies, they can be converted to other uses by the notfor-profit airport society. Having resource-based companies build their own airport facilities is a concept practised elsewhere by airports in regions undergoing rapid growth. It’s a prudent way of dealing with rapid air passenger growth and the subsequent demands placed upon smaller airports to provide facilities to handle that growth. The foundation, says Hendry, is that resource companies absorb the risk, freeing the airport society of any long-term debt to build facilities to cope with construction booms which will taper off when work concludes. “We will not be putting the airport into the position of over-building,” Hendry adds. “The [airport society] directors have decided that it will be industry taking on their own risk.” And by having resource companies building their own facilities to meet their own demand based on their own final investment decisions, the Northwest Regional Airport won’t be caught short. “We’ve heard stories of Fort McMurray, Fort St. John and Fort Nelson not having the infrastructure,” said Hendry of how rapid growth based on resource development has outstripped the capabilities of smaller airports elsewhere. See Page 23
The Northwest Regional Airport will additionally benefit from resource sector terminal construction by charging passenger arrival and departure fees in the same manner as it now charges regular commercial flights. In a way, said Hendry, these resource companybased passenger terminals will result in the creation of two airports – the terminals themselves and the regular terminal at the airport which will continue to handle regular traffic. To the largest extent possible, the resource terminal operations will be kept separate from the main regular passenger terminal. “Sometimes it’s difficult to have workers from a boom in the same place as the community,” said Hendry.
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The “two airports in one” model is contained within the Northwest Regional Airport’s 20-year master plan released in January. The conservative nature of the approach to the possibility of an LNG industry in the region is reflected in the plan’s pages, says Hendry. “Forecasts are just guesses. We wanted something we could use but which could be adapted as conditions change and evolve,” he said. The 20-year plan, prepared by the international aviation services consulting firm Airbiz, also contains recommendations for more immediate work, preparations for which, Hendry said, are already underway. That list includes expanding the long term parking lot and rebuilding the eastern arm of Bristol Road.
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Yes, that’s with a B $117.5 BILLION in projects on the books in the Northwest By Cameron Orr
here’s a slight difference between the projects being proposed or constructed today versus the fourth quarter of 2012.
That difference is $48.2 billion dollars. On March 17, the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies of British Columbia (ACEC-BC) released the B.C. Major Projects Inventory for the fourth quarter of 2013, a snapshot of the money being spent or proposed in the province. The total being spent or considered in B.C. is just over $309 billion, with the North Coast leading the province in proposed spending. As of March 17, there is $101.8 billion being proposed. Add in what’s been started and projects on hold, $117.5 billion is staring down the region. “This provides a good snapshot in terms of what the investment intentions are and an overview of projects that are arising and what’s happening on a macro scale,” explained Keith Sashaw, president and CEO of ACEC-BC. “You can’t go into the details because it is broad and very general, but it does provide some really good indication of where the investment is and some of the implications for the province to move forward.” As could be expected, it is natural resource development that is pushing the dollars in the region. That’s a change from the first decade of the 2000s when it was government and transportation projects that were driving spending. A lot of that came from development coinciding with the Winter Olympics in Whistler. “What we’re seeing now is not so much investment on the public side of things but a lot of interest on the private sector in terms of investment, especially around the resource bases,” said Sashaw, noting the North Coast in particular is seeing a lot increases. At nearly 40 per cent of the projected major project spending province-wide — including liquefied natural gas plants in Kitimat and Prince Rupert, an oil refinery and oil pipelines — the North Coast is looking at more investment than any on region so far.
However, Sashaw points out all these numbers have the potential to change. “That number would be on all of the LNG plants. As you know, there has been a whole number of suggestions and proposed LNG plants and the likelihood is not all of them will be going ahead. Nonetheless, it does show considerable interest and activity in the resource sector in that area.” By region, Vancouver Island and the Coast region is seeing the second highest amount of spending, but only at $32.3 billion. The Northeast’s total proposed investment is $29.2 billion. Province-wide, transportation and warehousing is the project category taking up the majority of the estimated dollars. Oil and gas development is near the top at $46.4 billion while mining sits at $38.4 billion. The inventory’s summary says the outlook for major project activity and investment in B.C. “remains optimistic with improving global economic growth expected gradually in 2014 and more forcefully thereafter”. In a word, things will get heavier in 2014, but the economy will rise even faster in 2015 and beyond. So what does this inventory of major BC projects do for the ACEC-BC? “This provides a good indication to our members and to the public in terms of what the demand for engineering services will be in the future,” said Sashaw. “When a company wants to build an LNG terminal or government wants to build hospital or road, they would engage the consulting engineering community, to undertake studies, environmental assessments and design the roads.” Given all the proposed spending, he said they’re confident the human resources of engineers exists to meet the demands, but still says it’s a very good time to join the field if you’re a student. “It does show for young people who have an interest in the science and technologies this would be an excellent career to be pursuing,” he said. “We’re confident that our members can meet the demand.”
By Walter Strong
innnacle Renewable Resources is making operational a new $5 million scrubber system that will improve air quality in the Burns Lake area.
The wet electrostatic precipitators (WESP) scrubber will replace a $4.5 million wet scrubber that has been in place for several years, but has failed to meet Ministry of Environment stack emission tests. The new technology operates by introducing a magnetic charge to emission particles which then adhere to pipe walls within the large unit, while the existing scrubber operates by creating a mist intended to trap emission particles in water droplets before they are released into the atmosphere. Pinnacle president and CEO Leroy Reitsma said the WESP scrubber has been proven effective in the company’s Meadowbrook facility, located 70 kilometres south of Prince George. “At the time we acquired the equipment, there were two technologies proposed so we put one at Meadowbrook and one at Burns Lake. The one at Meadowbrook has met expectations while the one at Burns Lake had not, so we knew one was working and the other simply wasn’t,” he said. “We have just decided to go with a different technology for Burns Lake that we are more confident in.”
The new scrubber was given an initial test on April 2. Reitsma expects commissioning to take place this quarter, with the system being fully operational in June. “It’s part of our commitment to this community… to make the additional investment to make sure that we’ll meet all the targets we need to meet,” Reitsma said The pellet plant in Burns Lake is the largest producer of Pinnacle’s six plant locations in B.C., capable of producing 400,000 metric tonnes of product annually (mt/a). Other Pinnacle pellet plants nearest to capacity to Burns Lake are Meadowbrook, Houston and Williams Lake, which all operate in the 220,000 mt/a range. Overall, Pinnacle operations have meant the closure of 12 beehive burners in B.C.
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Home Sweet Temporary Home By Shaun Thomas
f just four of the major liquefied natural gas terminals proposed for the Northwest proceed to construction, not taking pipelines into account, an estimated 15,000 workers will be coming to the region.
To put that in perspective, the 2011 census put the population of Terrace at 11,486 and the population of Prince Rupert at 12,508. In essence, the construction workforce would be the same as creating another city larger than either of the two biggest communities in the region. With that many people looking for temporary accommodations, worker housing becomes an industry of its own. The largest proponent of workforce housing in the Northwest is Edmonton-based PTI Group. The company has operated workforce lodging in a number of areas for a variety of different sectors, from housing oil sands workers near Fort McMurray to housing mining employees in the Northwest Territories and from catering to thousands of soldiers in Afghanistan to housing more than 1,000 security personnel for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. “We build lodges that are very much turn-key with recreation facilities, dining facilities and high-end accommodations,” explained PTI Group vice-president of business development Sean Crockett. PTI Group is currently working to develop three sites in the region, each in a different community. In Kitimat, the PTI lodge at Strawberry Meadows would include a base of 360 units. Upon adding an additional 240 units (up to 600 beds), a housing agreement will be made that requires all the units to be singleoccupancy, rental only and with a minimum of 80 per cent available for construction workers and employees of businesses located in an industrial zone. At full capacity, PTI Group’s lodge will have a total configuration of up to 2,154 beds. The company is scheduled to break ground on
PTI PROJECTS AT A GLANCE • 2,154 Kitimat Beds by completion • Groundbreaking May 1 •1,500 - 2,000 in Port Edward • Up to 400 jobs created the development on May 1. As well as $500 per bed for future affordable housing being paid to the District of Kitimat, plans call for the construction of pedestrian access trails through the land for those with mobility challenges. Should the 2,154bed configuration come to pass, PTI would provide meeting spaces “to facilitate communication between PTI, area residents, the District of Kitimat, the Chamber of Commerce, RCMP, Northern Health and other interested groups, at no cost to the municipality”. The company has also purchased, and received initial rezoning approval for, 15 hectares of land in the District of Port Edward to accommodate workers needed for the various projects on the North Coast. PTI said plans for the site include housing for between 1,500 and 2,000 workers in “semi-permanent structures that really focus on a superior level of lodging”. The PTI Group recently purchased a 37.6-hectare parcel of land located north of the Churchill Dr. subdivision a few minutes south of Terrace near Thornhill. Although Crockett said plans for that facility are still in development. In terms of job creation, Crockett said PTI Group aims to staff the facilities with as many local employees as possible at an approximate ratio of one staff member for every 10 tenants, meaning the developments in Port Edward and Kitimat alone could create more than 400 jobs.
Going Under Water By Shaun Thomas
ny pipeline carrying liquefied natural gas from the Northeast to Prince Rupert will make its final approach to the terminal not from the mountains of the coast but from the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean.
It’s a process unlike any other seen before on the North Coast; while natural gas flows between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, gas flow in the region stops in Prince Rupert or Kitimat. But laying pipe in the marine environment is nothing new to companies like TransCanada Pipeline, which outlined what is entailed in the process to N2K. “A contractor with global expertise in laying marine pipelines would use a barge or ship specifically outfitted for marine pipelines. After the pipe segments are welded, they are slowly fed into the water at an angle that avoids overstraining the pipe. The completed pipeline would typically rest on the seabed, but some sections may be buried in a trench to avoid obstruction and to protect the pipe ... the pipe is typically covered in concrete and in some cases may be covered in rock to protect it,” explained Davis Sheremata with the TransCanada Corporation. “The pipeline will rest on the seabed in deep water, up to 600 metres below the surface, or be buried below the seabed ... due to its weight, it will naturally partially bury itself in softer sediments on the seabed so that only a portion of the pipe may remain visible. Where this happens, the pipeline will have no effect on normal fish activity. If harder sediments are encountered the pipeline may not naturally sink into the seabed. Where this is the case and an effect on fish activity is identified,
the pipeline can be buried or covered to mitigate the potential effect.” While fish habitat may be impacted during construction, TransCanada notes that the pipeline itself or rock used to protect the pipeline could create new habitat. The company is still determining the best route for the pipeline and is taking into consideration the location of eelgrass beds and other valuable habitat. Gas flowing through the underwater pipeline would be monitored around the clock at the company’s gas control centre, which gathers real-time data on pressure, flow and temperature and would sound a warning of a leak or rupture either on land or under sea. Valves on land at each end of the marine section of pipeline would allow any release to be isolated and stop further flow into the area. In the event a leak is detected, however, TransCanada said the impact would be almost negligible. “Natural gas poses few environmental concerns to the ocean in the event of a leak from the pipeline on the seabed. The natural gas will form bubbles and quickly rise to the surface with no direct effect on water quality,” explained Sheremata, noting specific emergency response plans are still being developed. “Natural gas is lighter than air and therefore, on reaching the surface, will disperse into the air and dissipate quickly.”
Line-up begins for industrial park lands
By Rod Link
he sale by the city of nearly 10 acres of land at its Skeena Industrial Development Park to Global Dewatering for $250,000 last year represented the first sign of success for a project that dates back nearly two decades. More commonly known as the airport industrial lands, the park consists of 2,000 acres of property, most of which is provincial crown land. The City of Terrace has first call on that land if needed and has already purchased a portion for resale to companies.
Since last yearâ€™s sale to Global Dewatering, other confirmed and potential tenants have arrived on the scene. Veresen, a Calgary-based energy company, is interested in a parcel of land on which it could very well build a natural gas-powered turbine plant to produce electricity. Last November, a combined Terrace and Kitselas First Nation delegation traveled to China to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Qinhuangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone located in Qinhuangdao, a city on the north coast of China. The memorandum could lead to a purchase by Chinese industrial and manufacturing interests of industrial park land. Located on Kitselas traditional territory, the city and the Kitselas have a cost and profit sharing arrangement regarding the sales of industrial park lands. Earlier this year, the Kitselas First Nationâ€™s own corporation, the Kitselas Development Corporation, purchased 66.7 hectares at the park for $1.647 million. The corporation, in turn, has now sold a portion of what it bought to a Prince George-based worker accommodation company for future development. Falcon Camp Services wants to build a camp to hold up to 400 people in connection with the planned Pacific Trails Pipeline, the pipeline that would carry natural gas to the planned Kitimat LNG project. It was the federal government that unlocked the potential for city control of the provincial crown land south of the airport. That took place in the mid-1990s when the federal government decided it was getting out of the small airport business. See Page 29
A proposed liquefied natural gas facility located on Lelu Island within the District of Port Edward. Pacific NorthWest LNG would generate significant benefits for northwest British Columbia and the rest of the province. Visit www.PacificNorthWestLNG.com to learn more about the project and follow our progress.
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From Page 28
And since the airport was on provincial land that took in all those acres, turning the facility over to a local authority when the federal government exited the scene put into play a city move to acquire the land for itself. Then-mayor Jack Talstra and then-city administrator Ron Poole and other city senior staffers spearheaded the move. The theory was simple â€“ companies would do well to set up in Terrace. It was already the service and supply centre for the northwest as well as being in the geographic centre of the region. South was the Alcan (now Rio Tinto Alcan) smelter, west were the port facilities at Prince Rupert and north was promising mining territory. The city took ownership of the land in 2005, it lacked the money for such basic necessities such as a road leading off of Highway 37 to the site, not to mention services such as power and water. The access problem was answered in 2009 when the federal and provincial governments each promised the city $668,000, provided it came up with $668,000 of its own.
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Port stats March 2014
n the first quarter of 2014 there has been nearly 128,368.8 TEUs through Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert, which is down 4.9 per cent compared to the first three months of 2013 when nearly 134,974.8 moved through the operation.
Harbour Terminals saw a 127 per cent upturn in the first quarter of 2014, with 124,423 tonnes going through Harbour Terminal so far this year compared to 54,711 in 2013. Prince Rupert Grain had a nearly 3.5 per cent drop in the year-to-date total, with 1,357,357 tonnes being handled so far this year in contrast to 1,406,449 by this point in 2013. In the first quarter of 2014 there has been 34.7 per cent less coal moving through RTI, with 2,042,545 tonnes so far this year in contracts to 3,126,761 in 2013. So far this year there has been close to 17.6 per cent fewer tonnes handled at the Port of Prince Rupert.
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