Page 1


B.C.’s marine pilots put safety above all

Going Global

Taking Flight

How compressed bales bailed out a weak market

Business is soaring at Canadian Helicopters

Open Door Mount Milligan gives everyone a voice

Record Year Prince Rupert Grain shatters tonnage record

Marine mammals on the northcoast The waters between Kitimat and Prince Rupert are home to an abundance of marine life, from humpback whales to harbour seals. Given that there are projects hopeful for development in Kitimat which would have to share the nearby marine space with the current marine “residents”, there is a lot of work being put into understanding how development and aquatic life can co-exist. LNG Canada, as they continue their plans to potentially develop a liquefied natural gas facility on Kitimat’s shores, is looking at the marine life question very seriously. The company has conducted a baseline study which will guide their understanding of the wide range of marine mammals in the area, and they have taken a rigorous approach. They’re focusing on estimating the relative abundance of marine mammals, rather than presence or absence, which is an approach sometimes used. “We already know which species are there and which are not there,” says Michelle Bailey, Marine Technical Lead for Stantec, who worked on the studies for LNG Canada. “What we didn’t have was a good understanding of how many of those animals were using that area.” The studies helped them piece together when marine mammals are using the area along the proposed shipping route and the surrounding area that they frequent. It was a large study. Kitimat Arm, Douglas Channel, Whale Channel, Squally Channel, Caamaño Sound, Estevan Sound, Principe Channel and up to the Triple Island were all included in their scope. This scope means that LNG Canada will have a better picture of the marine life in the waterways as a whole. “We focused on the proposed shipping route and a bit beyond it, including the eastern side of Gil Island, in addition to the west side where ships would travel for the proposed project,” she said. “We wanted to have a good understanding of where the marine mammals were, and if we only surveyed along the This space is a collaborative promotional venture by LNG Canada and N2K Editor Cameron Orr

proposed shipping route and we didn’t see any whales, for example, we wouldn’t have known if they were simply on the other side of the island.” “This study was unique in terms of how frequently we surveyed through the year as well as the spatial scale that we surveyed at.” Noise pollution is also an area that hasn’t been ignored. Underwater noise studies have been done to help LNG Canada understand how sound may impact the environment. Hydro-acoustic recorders were placed in four sections of the proposed LNG shipping route to monitor what the ambient noise is in the water. Since these studies will help close knowledge gaps about the coast, the information won’t simply remain in LNG Canada’s hands. The knowledge will be published when the company submits their Environmental Assessment application, and LNG Canada is keen to share this information with researchers and educational institutions for the purposes of scientific research once the Environmental Assessment is complete. The details compiled in these surveys will be a part of the comprehensive BC Environmental Assessment filing requirements. The project has already been issued an Application Information Requirements document (AIR), which sets the guidelines for what the company will have to demonstrate when they file for an Environmental Assessment Certificate. The public is welcome to see the AIR documents and comments online at www.eao.gov.bc.ca and look for LNG Canada under the Proposed EAs section.

Publisher Todd Hamilton Editor-in-Chief Shaun Thomas Prince Rupert Ed Evans, Sales Lisa Thomas, Sales Quinn Bender, Reporter Martina Perry, Reporter 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 Chris Gareau, Editor Marisca Bakker, Reporter Houston Mary-Anne Ruiter, Sales Jackie Lieuwen, Reporter Burns Lake Laura Blackwell, Sales Steven Maisey, Editor Fort St. James/ Vanderhoof Pam Berger, Sales Jessie Cole, Reporter Rebecca Watson, Reporter N2K CONTACT INFO:

Vanderhoof Fort St. James Burns Lake Houston Smithers Terrace Kitimat Prince Rupert

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rom the glistening waters of the Pacific Ocean to the rugged terrain of the far north to the billowing fields of the Nechako region, every facet of industry is booming in the Northwest. While many in the Lower Mainland may read about how energy is driving interest in places like Kitimat, Terrace and Prince Rupert, this month’s issue of N2K proves that the economy of the region is as diverse as the people that make up this spectacular part of the province. Need proof? Look no further than the accomplishments of the agriculture sector outlined within this issue of N2K. First up is Jesse Cole’s report on the critical role two Vanderhoof businesses are playing in making sure Northwest farmers get their product to the ever-growing Asian market, where some countries have more cows than there are people in Canada. By compressing bales of hay for export, companies like Tophay Agri Industries are allowing farmers to move more product to more markets than ever before. Although far removed from the farming industry, Martina Perry takes a look at how Prince Rupert Grain is taking Canadian product to the rest of the world at a record pace. The shipping terminal on Ridley Island has moved six-million tonnes, more than any other year in its almost three decades of operation. But just like energy, the vessels exporting grain and hay need to operate safely within Canadian waters and ensuring the safety of the coast is the B.C. Coastal Marine Pilots. The work of this group of dedicated seamen is highlighted in this month’s feature story by Shaun Thomas. Couple in mining, forestry and service industries such as Kitimat’s Lapointe Engineering, highlighted on Page 27, and the future is brighter for the Northwest than anyone can imagine. That bright future and the hard working men and women who make it all possible is something people throughout the province Need to Know. Todd Hamilton N2K Publisher publisher@thenorthernview.com

Out-of-area subscriptions now available e-mail: circulation@thenorthernview.com View our e-version for free at: www.thenorthernview.com/eeditions

Volume 1 • Issue 6

TAKING CHARGE B.C. Marine Coast Pilots

OPEN DOOR Mount Milligan gives a voice

September 2014


GOING GLOBAL Northwest forage is off to Asia 10

TAKING FLIGHT Helicopter business picking up 12

MAKING LAND Work underway at Swamp Point 13

GREEN LIGHT KSM mine receives the go-ahead 14

LNG ADDITIONS Two more enter export market 15


MEETING TARGET Investment pays off for Pinnacle 19

POWER ON Transmission line powered up 21

RECORD TONNAGE Prince Rupert Grain sets record 27

ENGINEER GROWTH No project too big for LaPointe 26

CRITICAL PART Prolenc’s focus on innovations 28


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B.C. Marine pilots, the vanguard protecting our coast By Shaun Thomas


oarding a foreign vessel and providing orders to an experienced captain, who may or may not speak English and may not want you there to begin with, can be a daunting task. The ship’s captain and crew have safely sailed for days on end through weather conditions that would make the most experienced sailor cringe, but once that ship enters Canadian waters it is the job of B.C. Coastal Marine Pilots to make sure it arrives safely to its destination. And once on board, it doesn’t matter who wants what — the only thing that matters to the pilot is the safety of the people and the Canadian environment. “If we say we need three tugs to put a ship safely alongside a dock or for departure and they only send us two tugs then the ship doesn’t go. The Premier can call us and say ‘we need to move that ship’ and we will say ‘that’s fine, we’ll move it as soon as you give us that third tug’. That unbiased role is what we stand for, it is our ultimate role to the Canadian people,” explained Capt. Robin Stewart, a pilot with 14 years of experience. “Between industry and the public you will always have polarization going on because there will always be benefits one way or another ... they both have something to gain from an outcome. Our role is to make sure that the final decision, if we are to implement it for the people of Canada, is done as safely as possible.” See Page 7

“You cannot carry on passage without a pilot.” - Capt. Robin Stewart With tanker traffic expected to increase significantly in the years ahead — the Prince Rupert Port Authority anticipates the number of vessel calls to triple between now and 2020 — the important role of B.C. Coast Pilots cannot be understated. It is a role that those on the water take very seriously.

Working on shore and on ship A ship destined for Canada will contact traffic services 12 hours before reaching a prearranged meeting point. A B.C. Coastal Marine Pilot will receive a call three hours before meeting the ship, and work begins as soon as the phone rings. “The pilot will spend the first hour, hour-and-a-half doing all of the homework, making sure everything is up to speed and checking on arrival conditions such as tide, winds and weather forecast. He would then go down to the pilot dock, board the pilot vessel and, after travelling to the location, board the ship,” said Capt. Stewart. “As you’re approaching the ship you’re looking at the condition of the paint and you’re looking at the condition of the accommodation ladder. You’re looking to see the draft of the vessel and you take that to the captain to ask what the draft of the vessel is to see how ‘on’ he is. You’re reviewing and assessing all this kind of stuff as you’re approaching and even before you board the vessel. You’ll also ask the captain and the crew questions to see their response and gauge the level of trust you may have with them.” But the real work begins once on board. Each vessel is required to have one crew member in the wheelhouse who

can speak English and the pilot will work with that person to go over the ship’s route leading into shore or anchor, the status of the ship and if there were any issues during travel, and the requirement for tugs or escort. The pilot will also carry his own personal pilotage unit, a laptop-type computer that has independent positioning systems to ensure the accuracy of the ship’s equipment. Technology can do a lot, but Capt. Stewart said trust is just as important when it comes to safely guiding the vessel. “A suit and tie is considered to be our uniform ... you have to work to create an environment of trust with the wheelhouse crew and, in particular, with the captain. We wear the suit and the tie because we want them to see that we are professionals who are trustworthy, but we don’t want them to see us as police or military because a lot of them come from that background and would be less likely to tell you things,” he said. “Some of the eastern European nations have very adept seamen with long histories and they are used to more of an autocratic system than we have. They don’t necessarily welcome you all that much because they see you as unnecessary or as someone that is threatening their command. We’re not, we’re there to help.” Whether the captain trusts the individual or not, there is a recognition that the ship isn’t going anywhere without the guidance and expertise of the pilot. In fact, if the captain refuses to follow the advice of the pilot, the ship will be directed to anchor and the captain will have 48 hours to justify to Transport Canada why those recommendations were ignored. If those reasons aren’t valid, the ship is subject to a significant fine. See Page 8


“We won’t carry on if the captain isn’t following recommendations and you cannot carry on with passage without a pilot,” said Capt. Stewart. “We understand local practices. We understand if we see an American tug coming down from Alaska, we know what kind of speed it makes, where it is going and we generally know the crews in the area so we can be comfortable making passage arrangements with them. We know if we see some shrimp vessels or seiners or gillnetters, we know what their intent is and what their habits are and will make passage accordingly. [Our job is] to give that localized perspective that is so important.”

Experience counts Not just anyone can become a B.C. Coastal Marine Pilot. Those who have earned the title — 91 full-time equivalent pilots throughout B.C. — have done so only after proving themselves not only through their commitment to the organization but through countless years sailing up and down the coast. In fact, it isn’t until someone has reached the level just below that of a vessel captain that they can apply for a position. “The average entry age into the B.C. Coastal Marine Pilots is approximately 44, but it is starting to trend down. So a pilot has already had not only a career but a successful career before he comes to the B.C. Coastal Marine Pilots. I say successful because if he is proven to be a bad decision-maker or has any substance abuse problems or anything else to suggest he is not a safe candidate, we already know about it,” said Capt. Stewart. “Often in the coastal fleet, as an individual gets more senior he gets wiser. As he gets wiser he is going to take fewer and fewer risks and that is when we want him. We don’t want the individual that wants to play cowboy, we want the individual that will make sound decisions not based on his ego or any financial benefit.”


“We don’t want the individual that wants to play cowboy, we want the individual that will make sound decisions.” - Capt. Robin Stewart Reaching the level of consideration is one thing, but even then would-be pilots have a lengthy process to go through. If the candidate’s time on board other vessels is approved, he can then take part in up to 30 unpaid familiarization trips that allow them to get a sense of the job and allow the pilots to get a sense of the candidate. Once those trips are done, the candidate can apply to take the entrance exam — if they fail there is typically a one-year wait to rewrite the exam and Capt. Stewart notes most people require two to three attempts. Passing the exam launches an apprenticeship that can last between nine and 24 months, depending on performance and feedback, and those who clear all of those hurdles still need to earn the right to pilot the freighters seen plying North Coast waters. “For the first year of his pilotage, he is limited as to what type of vessel he can pilot. He won’t be doing passenger vessels or tankers or vessels over a certain size. That increases incrementally every year as ship sizes get bigger,” said Capt. Stewart. “During that time he will continue to do simulation training and modeled training.” See Page 9

A commitment to safety Even with all those years of experience, B.C. Coastal Marine Pilots never take the job lightly or assume it will be a simple sailing. “You go to every job with a certain degree of apprehension, you’re always on the look out for something to go wrong and never really know what you’re going to get,” said Capt. Stewart. “Every job has the potential for something different taking place so every job you do, even if it is a shift from anchor in the harbour to dockside, you are at a hyper-state of awareness because you are always looking for something different.” The commitment to safety that drives pilots is one Capt. Stewart said is shared with everyone from the wheelhouse to the boardroom. But it wasn’t always like that. “Initially there was the perception that it was smoke and mirrors, that we’ll do this to make people happy. That wasn’t us, that was industry and it was endemic through government and the public,” he said. “That has changed. You now have near 100 per cent buy-in from all levels of government and all levels of industry. They are all acutely aware of the need for safety ... the marine industry takes the whole role of safety very seriously. The people of B.C. and the people of Canada should be very proud of the degree

“The people of B.C. and the people of Canada should be very proud of the degree of professionalism in the marine industry.” - Capt. Robin Stewart

of professionalism in the marine industry. Everyone involved holds a very high standard and I think the people of B.C. need to know that.” Being a B.C. Coastal Marine Pilot is not for everyone, but for the select few who are tasked with protecting B.C.’s coast it can be a very rewarding experience. “We have a vested interest in the safety of the coast ... when it’s finished and you have the ship alongside and have shaken the captain’s hand before boarding off, there is a sense of accomplishment with that and it is quite satisfying,” said Capt. Stewart.


Northwest forage goes


Compressed hay bails out watered-down market By Jesse Cole


anada, and in particular British Columbia, has the landmass for and the ability to cultivate large amounts of forage for feed and has been doing so for generations. For most of British Columbia’s history, hay grown was sold domestically to other regions of Canada. But with an overabundance of hay the market price for farmers stagnated, leaving a fairly dismal return. With an over-saturated market and low returns, farmers had to find new, more profitable markets for their product. Enter China, the Middle East and Asia. Places such as the Far East, China and Korea have large population bases with insufficient landmass to cultivate the amount of feed necessary for their agricultural sector to flourish, so they’ve turned to importing hay and other forms of animal forage from North America. China, for example, is home to more than 40 million dairy cows; that’s more cows than the entire population of Canada. Those cows require an estimated 100 million tonnes of feed annually, feed that comes in the form of forage or hay. The Port of Prince Rupert happens to be the closest


“The markets for this industry are huge.” - Scott Muller port to China and the east, giving British Columbia the opportunity to be a leader in the forage export industry. British Columbia is home to three forage export companies, two of which are located in Vanderhoof, B.C. Tophay Agri Industries is one of the two Vanderhoof companies that has capitalized on foreign markets needs. Scott Muller, an administrator with Tophay Agri Industries, says that the industry shows no signs of slowing down as populations overseas increase and agricultural needs grow with them. This is great news for Canadian farmers in the region who can expect to make up to five times the amount offered domestically for their product. The needs of overseas markets have also helped to create a more stable environment for hay farmers in the region. See Page 11

While exporting to foreign markets is not by any means new, what makes companies like Tophay Agri Industries unique is the method by which they ship the product. Traditionally, Canadian hay is baled in large, medium and small bales. Those are fine for domestic transportation, but the prospect of moving these bales overseas via shipping containers was more complicated and less cost effective based on the amount of hay that could be shipped at once. Tophay, as well as other hay export companies in the region, have employed compression technology to increase the volume of hay they can transport at one time. Using 3-phase power, Tophay compresses hay bales purchased from local farmers into 28 kg cubes measuring less than 30 inches in width and height. Compressing the bales into easily handled cubes has made shipping much more cost effective and allowed more product to be shipped per trip. “The markets for this industry are huge,” Muller said, adding that Tophay had recently received an order for 3,000 tonnes of hay from Korea alone. While primarily shipping to China for use in feeding dairy cows, Muller noted that the demand for the product is quite diverse with customers running the gamut from Korean or Chinese agricultural businesses to middle eastern camel racing organizations. The companies operating in the Nechako area produce significantly less than the 100 million tonnes China alone requires, with yields in the tens-of-thousands rather than millions. But the companies operating here are relatively

new and are still in the infant stages of their growth. Tophay hopes to expand their production and yield, having ventured into the farming industry in an effort to maximize exports through the production of their own hay that would supplement the hay they purchase from local growers. With a world market that is only going to demand more resources to sustain their agriculture sector, companies like Tophay have reason to be optimistic about the future.

Your Way Up • Daily direct flights to Vancouver, Kelowna, Prince George and others • Regular scheduled flights to BC’s mineral resource region along Highway 37, including Dease Lake and Bob Quinn • 7,500 ft of paved runway

• New LPV approaches for lower landing limits • Airport land available for lease and for sale • Multiple airport-based helicopter and fixed wing charter operations




Canadian Helicopters By Mariska Bakker


ith rugged and remote terrain throughout the Northwest, industry of every size turns to the sky to not only access work sites but survey the expansive landbase. For Canadian Helicopters, one of the largest helicopter service providers in the country, no job is too big or too small. At the company’s Smithers location, there is a high demand for service with a long and varied customer list. Along with mineral exploration and pipeline surveying, the company flies government organizations such as the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for aerial surveys. Even the tourism industry turns to Canadian Helicopters to access remote fishing areas for their clientele. “One of the advantages in having our hand in many different areas is that if one sector is slow, we have other opportunities we can pursue,” said pilot Richard Harrison. “Last year, we did more pipeline work than this year, but this year we’ve had more exploration work and, of course, more forest fire work. And come September we will be doing a lot of heli-fishing.” The Smithers location has grown in the past several years. They now have nine machines on the base, while in the early 1990s they had only three. Projects going on in the Northwest — such as the Northern Gateway Pipeline,


“We have definitely grown in the last two years.” - Richard Harrison proposed LNG pipelines and new mines — are helping to keep the company and others like it very busy. “With the pipeline going, that is a project that almost every operator in the Northwest has machines on. Just the sheer scale of an economic project like that means a lot of people will benefit economically. We’ve definitely grown in the last two years for sure,” said Harrison. “Personally, one of my favourite things to do is helifishing. We get to go a lot of really neat locations and the flying is challenging. I like flying clients that are there for fun and not there for work. You get to be part of someone else having a good time. You get to see a lot of neat things.” Along with Smithers, Canadian Helicopters has a network of 26 strategically located bases providing operations in every geographical region in the country.

LAND Making

By Shaun Thomas


fter nearly a decade in the making, the first load of equipment arrived at Highbank Resources Swamp Point North aggregate project earlier this summer. The first barge at the end of June— which included a D5 Cat, an excavator with various attachments, a rock truck, a 5,000 gallon fuel tank and an Atco trailer complete with a dry room, showers, a washroom and laundry facility — allowed the crew of six to begin site

preparation and roadwork at the site approximately 160 kilometres north of Prince Rupert. The Swamp Point project includes more than 71 million tonnes of sand and gravel aggregate the company plans to ship to Prince Rupert for sale and distribution to support construction of major projects from B.C. to California. Going through Prince Rupert also creates the option to access Asian markets as needed.


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14-03-14 4:57 PM

KSM given the Green Light

By Tom Fletcher


ne of the biggest copper and gold ore deposits in the world has received an environmental assessment certificate to begin development of a mine near Stewart in northwestern B.C. Seabridge Gold’s KSM mine property includes four ore bodies that contain silver and molybdenum, as well as gold and copper. The company plans a combination of open-pit and underground mining to extract ore and a pair of tunnels to transport up to 120,000 tonnes a day to a processing area 23 kilometres away. Seabridge expects a construction period spanning 20 years and a mine life of 50 years, with 1,800 construction jobs and more than 1,000 employees to operate the mine. Seabridge CEO Rudi Fronk said the company’s next step is to secure a financing partner, an effort buoyed by the permit and discovery last year of a new ore body with higher copper content. He said it will take at least two years for a partner to reach a final investment decision. Seabridge has a benefits agreement with the Nisga’a Nation, whose territory was defined by a treaty in 2000, and the province has agreed to a 37.5 per cent share of provincial mineral royalties to be paid to the Nisga’a. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the recent completion of the Northwest Transmission Line to extend the BC Hydro electricity grid to the region made this mine possible, as well as a molybdenum mine at Kitsault and the Red Chris copper-gold project near Dease Lake.


“This is one of the biggest mines that’s ever been permitted in the province.” - Bill Bennett “This is one of the biggest mines that’s ever been permitted in the province,” Bennett said. “It’s on a scale with Highland Valley copper [near Kamloops], with Fording River or Elkview coal mines in the southeast, major mines that will really make a difference in our economy.” The KSM project still requires federal approval, expected by October. Fronk said the federal review has agreed with the province that the mine would not pose a significant environmental risk. The site is near the border with the Alaska panhandle. Bennett said during the provincial review, the company changed its design to move the tailings and processing facility away from the mine site to address concerns by the fishing and tourism industry in Alaska. Fronk said the tunnel component represents approximately 10 per cent of the capital cost, but it reduces the length of road required to truck concentrate to port facilities at Stewart.

LNG Additions By Shaun Thomas


roving liquefied natural gas remains a hot commodity for export to Asia, details surrounding two new terminals on the North Coast were released this summer.

WCC LNG The largest of the two proposals is that of WCC LNG, a partnership between ExxonMobil and Imperial Oil. The company already has in-hand an export licence for between 10 million and 30 million tonnes of LNG per year and brought their plans for an export terminal near Prince Rupert to the community during an open house in late July. WCC LNG is proposing to locate up to six floating barges along the edge of Tuck Inlet, along with land-based camps, an administration building and a control room on the land directly across from the Seal Cove seaplane base. At full build out, the terminal would serve one vessel per day. The announcement of the Tuck Inlet site may be something new, but the project itself has been on the drawing board for a long time. WCC LNG has been looking at sites up and down the North Coast since 2011, choosing Tuck Inlet because of the safe, protected harbour, the deepwater berthing capacity, the proximity to infrastructure and the viability of the site for both a barge-mounted or on-shore concept. The current timeline for the terminal calls for the project description to be filed later this year, with a final investment decision coming in early 2018. Should the project proceed, construction would run from 2018 to 2023, with operations beginning nine years from now. Given that time frame, Imperial Oil media relations advisor Leanne Dohy said it is important to note there is a lot of work yet to be done. “There is going to be a lot of engagement to come ... and we want tons of input,” she said. “We don’t want people to wait for open houses, we want people to talk to us if they have questions or concerns.”

Watson Island LNG The newest player on the Northwest LNG scene is Watson Island LNG (WILNG). In mid-July the company reached an agreement with the

City of Prince Rupert for exclusive rights to Watson Island, home to the former Skeena Cellulose pulp mill. Because of constraints related to accessing the site through Porpoise Channel, WILNG founder Ed Neibauer said the plan is to serve smaller Handymax ship that have a capacity of less than 60,000 tonnes and limit access and egress to periods of high tide. Before anything is approved, the Prince Rupert Port Authority is requiring WILNG to carry out simulations with pilots to ensure there’s plenty of depth for the vessels and travel through Porpoise Channel and Harbour can be done safely. Along with the project, WILNG is new to the scene as it was incorporated in April of this year. Despite the size of the operation, Neibauer said safety is of the utmost importance. “Even though we are a small company, we will meet the standards of all the major ones,” he said. “We definitely don’t want to have any problems with safety issues.” WILNG’s agreement with the city runs through to the end of 2014.


How Mount Milligan gives everyone a voice By Rebecca Watson


ining can have a large impact on surrounding communities environmentally, economically and socially, but not everyone shares the same point of view when deciding what areas to focus on. That is why a Community Sustainability Committee (CSC) is in place at Mount Milligan, to open up lines of communication between the mine and the community, said John Sandstrom, manager of leadership and community partners and CSC member. “It only gets more collaborative as time goes on. The meetings are positive and the goals of the business and communities are becoming aligned,” said Sandstrom. The copper and gold mine is owned by Thompson Creek Metals (TCM), a diversified North American mining


company. It is one of two commercial TC mines in Canada and is located 155 kilometres northwest of Prince George, midway between the communities of Fort St. James and Mackenzie. Currently in its second year of production, the mine is a conventional truck-shovel open pit that will produce 60,000 tonnes per day over a 22-year mine life. Approximately 75 per cent of the mine’s workforce live locally in surrounding areas such as Mackenzie, Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, Prince George and Fraser Lake. The CSC started in 2008 to help facilitate communication between representatives from community-based organizations, governments, First Nations and Thompson Creek Metals so the mine owners can better understand each communities’ individual needs

and concerns. Ann McCormick, director of the College of New Caledonia Fort St. James, has been on the committee since its inception and says it has become a great way to put a face to a name when knowing who to connect with. “When people come together there is a lot of synergy to get a problem solved. It’s about what the mine can do to help [the community] but also what we can do to help the mine. It has created an avenue to ask these questions with an expectation of getting an answer,” said McCormick. The committee meets quarterly and representatives are expected to address all issues from the previous meeting and report back to the committee, which is a mix of professionals and labourers, said Wayne Salewski, a

“We want to be transparent with our employees and we want to be transparent in the community.” - John Sandstrom retired forester in Vanderhoof, member of the CSC and has an extensive environmental background. See Page 18


“It represents the demographics of the community to ensure our values are put on the table. I [personally] would like to see their legacies go toward waterways and lakes,” said Salewski. One of the major concerns for all surrounding communities is the environmental impact of the mine. While an environmental team works at Mt. Milligan to minimize the mine’s impact on the natural landscape, they also report to the CSC to keep the flow of information steady. Environmental issues will always be a concern for everyone involved and a part of the CSC mandate is to address rumours, said Sandstrom. “I’ve worked at five different mines and none of them are even close to the environmental policies and plans that are in place at Mt. Milligan. We want to be transparent with our employees and we want to be transparent in the community,” said Sandstrom. During the construction stages of the mine, community challenges included making sure local businesses were competitive in the market to benefit from the big project, as well as ensuring people were educated so the mine was hiring locally. Now in the operational stages, the mine’s daily work week has shifted from four days to seven days. A Social Impact Committee (SIC) was formed last month to consider positive and negative social impacts on


“It represents the demographics of the community.” - Wayne Salewski surrounding communities and will also report to the CSC with future findings. Liza Sam, a registered nurse at the Nak’azdli clinic in Fort St. James and committed SIC member, sees and hears concerns from people affected by the mine on a daily basis. “We are going to watch the community’s crime rates, speeding, marriage breakups, everything and, if there are any social effects that deviate from the normal mine life we will try and get them back to normal,” said Sam. With all the different ideas surrounding impact of the mine, having a committee to help orchestrate them has proven to be an effective way for people to stay in communication. “We pride ourselves with an open door policy. Employees can pass on concerns and if someone has an idea they can always talk to us,” said Sandstrom.

Pinnacle cleaner

hits target

By Steven Maisey, Photos by Martina Perry


ack in April, when Pinnacle Renewable Energy’s new, wet electrostatic precipitator (WESP) was in its commission stage, president and chief operating officer Leroy Reitsma told N2K that “positive results” were expected. Three months later Pinnacle Pellet’s Burns Lake plant

has its positive result. “The results [of the emissions stack test] have been received and we are happy to confirm that the WESP is operating well within the permitted level,” Reitsma said. See Page 20

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. • 330 new careers operating the facility • 300 local spin-off jobs • 4,500 construction jobs at peak activity • $1 billion in new annual revenue for local, provincial and federal governments • Contracting opportunities for local and regional businesses Visit www.PacificNorthWestLNG.com to learn more about the project and follow our progress.

Canadian Energy. Global Reach.

The wet electrostatic precipitator, a $5 million investment by Pinnacle, was put through its first Ministry of Environment emissions stack test at the end of June. The new WESP system uses electrostatic energy to trap wet particles reducing particle emission. Previous efforts had been made to improve on the old system, but Pinnacle had failed to pass the air quality control tests and had come under scrutiny by nearby residents. However, since then, Reitsma said the only portion of the emissions control system that had plagued the company is no longer in operation. “The other portions of the plant have demonstrated a consistent level of compliance so we have no reason to believe that we will not fully achieve desired results as we move forward,” Reitsma said. In addition to passing its air quality control test, the Burns Lake plant was found to be fully compliant in


“We have no reason to believe that we will not fully achieve desired results.” - Leroy Reitsma its latest WorkSafeBC inspection, which took place in June, as well. Pinnacle’s plant in Burns Lake is the largest of the company’s six B.C. plants with the capacity to produce 400,000 metric tonnes of product annually. The five other wood pellet plants located in B.C. are in Armstrong, Strathnaver, Williams Lake, Quesnel and Houston, and the company’s offices are located in Prince George and Vancouver.

Tranmission line

By Quinn Bender


t’s been almost 10 years in the works, emotions sometimes running high as negotiations between industry, government and the public crawled forward and at times came to a full stop. But as of this month BC Hydro has announced the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) along Hwy 37 is complete and ready to feed electricity into what may soon be one of Canada’s most active mining regions. “The Northwest Transmission Line is a nation building project and is vital to the future of our province,� said Bill Bennett, minister of energy and mines.

“It will open up world-class mineral deposits and support the development of new mines and clean energy projects.� The NTL is a monster project, a 344-kilometre, 287-kilovolt transmission line that originates near Terrace and ends at a new substation near Bob Quinn Lake. The company is also building two small run-of-river projects in the vicinity for a combined cost of $1 billion. Bennett also added that the $630 million Red Chris copper mine owned by Imperial Metals, which is due to be finished and put into service next month, will use power from the Northwest Transmission Line. See Page 22


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It has 1,100 transmission structures which, if stacked one on top of each other, would rise about the height of 78 Empire State buildings. The combined weight of the steel is equivalent to 1.5 Eiffel Towers. Its 2,100 km of transmission cable is the equivalent distance between Terrace and Regina. “BC Hydro is in the midst of major upgrades and additions to the province’s electricity system that was built decades ago,” said Jessica McDonald, president and CEO of BC Hydro. “These investments, made in the 60s, 70s and 80s, helped to grow our province. The Northwest Transmission Line will do the same by opening up a new region to economic activity through clean hydroelectricity.” The line will provide power to new industrial developments and serve as a connection point for clean power projects, like AltaGas’ Forrest Kerr hydroelectric project. The new Red Chris mine will be the first mine to use power from the line this fall. It’s hoped it will also stimulate the local economies in the region by providing renewable power to remote northern communities in British Columbia. Local communities will benefit from increased access to clean hydro-electric power, in turn reducing their dependence on diesel generation, improving service reliability and resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. The $746 million project was split between the Government of Canada, contributing $130 million through the Green Infrastructure Fund, and AltaGas, who kicked in $180 million. The remaining balance is expected to be

recovered over time from a new tariff that will apply to future users of the line. “The completion of the Northwest Transmission Line is a major milestone in infrastructure development in B.C.’s northwest,” said Karina Brino, president and CEO of the Mining Association of BC. “Realizing the future resource development potential in the region will create tremendous economic benefit for the entire province and will result in long-term, high-paying employment opportunities, including approximately $16 billion in capital investment and more than 3,600 direct permanent jobs in B.C.’s northwest, from major mining projects alone.” The line officially went into service on July 15, 2014.


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Great grain: Record 6 million tonnes By Martina Perry


t was a typical morning at Prince Rupert Grain (PRG). Employees starting the day shift on July 31 got into their usual places and started their designated tasks; it was just like any other day. But as the shift progressed it became apparent it wasn’t a regular day at the facility. In fact, it wasn’t just noteworthy, it was record breaking. After employees unloaded the ninth railcar that morning, on the last day of Prince Rupert Grain’s fiscal year, it was official. The amount of grains and oilseeds handled by PRG over the last 12 months had surpassed six million tonnes, beating out the previous 1992 record of 5.3 million tonnes. The tonnage milestone is remarkable, says Prince Rupert

Grain Ltd. president Nick Fox. “As recently as 2013, our five-year average was only 4.7 million tonnes so reaching 6 million tonnes this year is significant,� Fox explained. Since operations began in 1985, PRG has handled 112 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds over nearly three decades of operation. While the record-breaking achievement created a sense of pride and excitement for many at the terminal, Prince Rupert Grain’s Richard Forssell, the facility’s assistant superintendent of operations, said he was mainly relieved. See Page 24

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“With the daily challenges now behind us, I’m personally grateful for the excellence in execution and extra effort demonstrated by our Prince Rupert Grain world-class team and working partners to achieve the record-breaking year,� he said. The tonnage milestone can be attributed to a number of factors, says Fox, the first of which is changes made to the Canadian Wheat Board marketing mandate two years ago. These changes allowed PRG to broaden its customer base and work directly with companies purchasing grain from farmers in Western Canada. “This relationship ensures the grain shipped to the terminal is destined to a nearby vessel, which has increased the fluidity of product moving through the terminal,� Fox explained. Another component has been the rapid rise in demand for grains and oilseeds in countries with developing economies. In response, Canadian farmers have boosted production, resulting in grain export growth through all national export channels. And because of the many advantages Prince Rupert Grain has over other west coast terminals, such as a faster sailing time to Asian markets, has been greatly beneficial. PRG’s efficiency has also worked in its favour, with equipment ensuring a fast-paced operation. The terminal has eight shipping bins and three tower-mounted loading spouts that can load up to 4,000 tonnes of wheat or barley per hour, and state-of-the-art technology that cleans grain as fast as it’s unloaded from railcars. See Page 25

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But Fox noted it takes more than equipment for everything to run smoothly, pointing to PRG’s skilled and dedicated workforce for the terminal’s success. Prince Rupert Grain currently employs 136 people, having increased staff by 10 per cent over the past year, with employees from some of the contracted companies also working onsite. Prince Rupert Grain may already have the highest throughput of any export terminal elevator in the country and handle a quarter of grain terminal exports

on Canada’s west coast, but there is still room for more tonnage records to be broken. The facility is capable of shipping more than seven million tonnes annually, which is a bonus as the demand for the product PRG receives from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Northern B.C. is expected to continue. Confident with his predictions, Forssell said he anticipates more records will be broken in the coming years.


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By Cameron Orr


hen you walk in to Lapointe Engineering’s front office you are immediately greeted with soft earthy tones, a finely-stained wooden trim around the room and colourful artwork produced by local artists. In short, it’s one water feature away from the entrance to a day spa. The welcoming tone of their front office area sets the stage for what clients can expect from the company, which began in 1980 with Robin Lapointe, but now has expanded

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to serve projects nationally, with a base of approximately 40 employees. When Lapointe first opened the doors to his new engineering firm he entered a business landscape where engineering firms in the Northwest were scarce. Lapointe and his wife are both Kitimat-raised and when a former District of Kitimat engineering employee gave the suggestion to set up shop in town after he had graduated, it was a natural choice to make. See Page 27

The clout that comes with being a true Kitimat-based business has been beneficial for their growth and today, even though they may have some smaller satellite offices elsewhere, they remain a Kitimat-committed business. It’s what Mark Gravel, a company partner, calls their competitive advantage. Many of their employees remain working for them for decades in order to stay in Kitimat, reducing their turnover or training times. “The client’s going to expect that stability,” he said. “Whereas a lot of time when they’re working with other firms people are in and out within a couple of years.” Gravel has been with the company for about five years and has been in Kitimat for 12. He says he “was only supposed to be here [Kitimat] four months.” That doesn’t mean Lapointe doesn’t branch out where it can. Diversifying their services and geographic service area has kept them not only afloat but growing through a number of tough times in the north. “Kitimat’s really gone through the initial boom in the 50s, then it went through another boom in the late 60s with Eurocan, then the next boom was in the late 70s, ‘79/80, when Ocelot was built in 1981,” said Lapointe. “Then we hit the recession of the early 80s and that recession was probably one of the biggest recessions B.C.’s seen in the last 50 years, but it’s been a huge motivator for me.” Work began to pick up in 1987 when they worked on a sawmill project in Terrace, colourfully called Project Starship. Once the late 90s and early 2000s recession came on scene, things were actually not so bad for the company. “At that time in a way things were kind of easier, we were the only engineering firm,” said Lapointe. With the projects happening today in Kitimat, Lapointe said they could also re-centralize the business, but that would step backward from the way they’ve diversified. “Could we call our forces back in here and make a better dollar focusing right here and sleeping in our own bed? Yes we could,” he admits. The overall Lapointe firm maintains a close connection to Kitimat though. Robin himself has been involved in a now-closed economic development organization called the Kitimat-Terrace Industrial Development Society, has been a part of the local Rotary Club since the 1980s and is currently the president of the Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club. “And whenever I get involved with things the staff here

get involved too,” he adds. Gravel is a member of the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce and is on the District’s Advisory Planning Commission. The company’s other partner, Alex RamosEspinoza, is the president of the Kitimat Youth Soccer Association. The company as a whole also sponsors an annual popsicle bridge building competition which draws in participants from the whole - Mark Gravel area. Showing the reputation garnered by LaPointe Engineering, both Robin and Mark have served as president of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia on seperate occassions. With a steady flow of work with Kitimat’s current era of construction Lapointe Engineering has been on hand to meet the demand, including with their relatively new formal offering of project management. “It’s all been organic,” said Gravel. “We have grown with the projects and the projects have come to us because we have grown.”

“We have grown with the projects and the projects have come to us because we have grown.”


Blending innovation with industry By Quinn Bender


very job requires tools. They range in scope from complex pieces of heavy machinery down to the smallest part that allows the overall operation to function in the first place. If one of those parts wears down, the entire enterprise can come to a screeching halt. If time is money, would you rather have those parts designed by good-intentioned engineers far removed from the job at hand, or through practical experience by someone in the field who has endured every design flaw firsthand? That was the thinking at Prince George’s Prolenc Manufacturing in the early 1990s when they bought the patent for an innovative swing brake, or snubber, envisioned by the most qualified of designer: An actual logger. To date this forward-thinking company has expanded on the design with 15 different models to fit just about any harvester, forwarder, skidder, or loading grapple, earning more than a reputation within the Northwest logging industry, but earning the region a reputation for leadership. See Page 29

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“I’ve been involved with it essentially from the beginning,” said Prolenc owner Kevin Hodgins. “We ended up buying the patent in the 90s, marketing it and developing new designs and features. There’s nothing else like it on the market.” What separates Prolenc’s snubbers from the competition is the sheer simplicity of the design. Traditional snubbers are comprised of an assortment of disks and plates in a continuous state of contact and friction. Simply put, there are more moving parts that wear down regularly and are expensive to repair when they do. Prolenc’s design is uniquely the opposite. “There’s one (tapered) wear part,” Hodgins said. “It has a long service lifetime and a very low cost per hour to maintain.” The snubbers are built on site in Prolenc’s Prince George CNC machine shop, shipped directly to customers in Canada and warehoused in the U.S. for rapid delivery there. Beyond manufacturing an innovative snubber, Prolenc is pushing its innovation alongside the mining and exploration sector as well. For seven years they’ve been supplying custom parts for exploration machinery, but have also taken it one step further by manufacturing their own drill heads, based on established, principle designs. Strictly as a supplier, the company has also singled out what they believe are the best bunks for short wood logging trucks and trailers. Manufactured in Sweden from

“It has a long service lifetime and a very low cost per hour to operate.” - Kevin Hodgins the world’s oldest builder, ExTe, the company restricts their product line to bunks only. “They’re very forward thinkers, but they’re very focused on the product because that’s all they do,” Hodgins said. “They don’t build trailers or trucks or anything like that. It’s bunks only — laser cut, robotically welded and the best weight-to-payload ratio for steel bunks that’s available on the market. We have been selling the bunks for three years now and pretty soon we will have 100 trucks with it.” Prolenc is a prime example of how to operate a business within the shifting assortment of industry in the Northwest. They not only supply what’s needed, but stay intimately connected to those industries so they go beyond simply being a parts supplier, and acting more like an agent, identifying innovative products around the world and bringing them home to the Northwest. “When you give value to your customer, that’s how you get repeat business,” Hodgins said. For more information on this innovative technology, visit www. prolenc.com.

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CERTIFIED INDUSTRIAL ELECTRICIAN Preferred candidates are industrial Electricians possessing dual certification as a journeyperson. Electrician and Industrial Instrumentation Mechanic with proven experience in any of the following: Delta V, A+B PLC, Wonderware HMI ABB DC Drives, Mitsubishi VFD, A+B VFD, 60/13.8kV Distribution, Ethernet Networks. Fisher valves and Rosemount transmitters. Understanding of process systems is an asset and attention to safety and efficiency is a must. Good Interpersonal and communication skills rout out your qualifications. Quesnel has a population of approximately 25,000 and features all major conveniences, including its own airport. Quesnel offers affordable housing, modern recreational and educational facilities, regular community events, as well as unlimited recreational activities for the outdoor enthusiast. It doesn’t take long to feel part of Quesnel’s welcoming community. Interested applicants should forward a resume to: westpine@westfraser.com by August 22, 2014.


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For more information on West Fraser and other career opportunities, visit our website at: www.westfraser.com/jobs

Huckleberry Mines Ltd. is a 20,000 TPD open pit copper/molybdenum mine located 120 km south of Houston in west central British Columbia. We are currently recruiting for the following position to join our engineering team:

HELP WANTED, RONA PRINCE RUPERT DEPARTMENT MANAGER, FLOORING & CABINETS We are looking for a reliable, energetic, and outgoing person to work in the flooring and cabinetry division. Retail and customer service related experience would be an asset. Full time hours with great benefits. Willing to train the right person. QUALIFICATIONS: Experience in customer service focused roles an asset Knowledge of Microsoft Office suite (design software skills an asset) Excellent listening, communication, and interpersonal skills Detail orientated with strong organizational skills Ability to work independently, take initiative and demonstrate flexibility Ability to perform work duties that include bending, stretching, lifting and carrying medium to heavy products Must have a positive attitude and be a motivated team player If you are interested in joining our team, please submit your resume and cover letter. Attention: Sharon Rothwell, General Manager RONA / Tyee Building Supplies 405 3rd Avenue East, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1K7 Fax: 250 624 4139

Call a Recruitment Specialist


Huckleberry Mines Ltd. currently has an opportunity for an Accounting Assistant at our mine site. This position reports to the Accounting Superintendent and requires an individual with excellent time management skills who can prioritize work to meet goals and deadlines, work well under pressure and pays attention to detail. Primary duties of this position are: • Accounts payable • Contract payments • Payment of all invoices in a timely manner • Assist with month end preparation and reporting • Assist with year end preparation and reporting The successful candidate will have a college diploma in accounting and be working towards their CGA or CMA, has knowledge of Excel and ACCPAC software and have more than 4 years of accounting experience. Preference will be given to individuals with industrial experience. Huckleberry Mines is located approximately two hours driving time from Houston, British Columbia. Employees live in a camp environment on their days of work. The work schedule for this position is 4 days on followed by 3 days off (Monday to Thursday). Transportation to and from the mine site is provided from Smithers and Houston by bus and while at the mine site all meals and accommodations are provided free of charge to employees. Huckleberry Mines Ltd. offers a competitive salary and a full range of benežts including medical, life, disability income and RRSP savings plan. We thank all applicants for their interest in Huckleberry Mines Ltd., but only those selected for an interview will be contacted. Qualižed applicants can submit their resumes in conždence to:


Human Resources Department Huckleberry Mines Ltd. P.O. Box 3000 Houston BC V0J 1Z0 Fax 604-517-4701 Email: HR@Huckleberrymines.com

JUNE 2014 • VOL. 1 ISSUE 3 APRIL 2014


Getting Modern











E s ring URas THE BIG PICTBr

turns out to be wood


Cutting Edge

That’s the Spirit


Going Green





Minerals North

Social Licence

a Up in thee air

lean ed cclea Scrubbed




4 JULY 2014 • VOL. 1, ISSUE








Pinnacle Boss

Leroy Reitsma

Mining Data Even the bad news turns out to be good news

Fly Smithers

Airport expansion key to town’s industrial diversification

Spirit of Home

anchorss up Delta Spirit anchor as Kitimat project heats up

Global Contender

Stewart World Port determined to be up-and-running by 2016

BEST Mine Rescue Crew

Family Affair Burns Lake’s Industrial Transformers

That’s Avanti

Kitsault mine scheduled to re-open in 2017

Project Caribou

Vanderhoof mining company does it the right way

Beetle Battle

Fort St. James project turns devastation into energy


Trade connects us. These workers—and men and women like them—are building the Port of Prince Rupert’s Road, Rail, and Utility Corridor. Once the two-year construction project is complete, our gateway will move more cargo to overseas markets. That means jobs and prosperity for people in northern BC. Our terminals may be located in Prince Rupert, but we’re building connections clear across Canada—and the globe. Learn about the value of trade at www.rupertport.com.

Profile for Black Press Media Group

N2K - September 2014  


N2K - September 2014