OCTOBER 2015 â€˘ VOL. 2, ISSUE 6
Mining takes centre stage
Biomass Build Fraser Lake Sawmill turns waste into energy
Terminal Sold DP World completes Fairview Terminal purchase
Funding Partners TransCanada, TRICORP provide money for Aboriginal training
Stewart Success New shipping facility officially opened
LNG Canada builds off community feedback A telephone survey commissioned by LNG Canada shows strong support for their liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, but when it comes to areas of improvement the company isn’t resting on their laurels. In total, 532 residents were interviewed and 100 businesses. Employment opportunities were the most common project benefit cited by people when asked, followed by economic growth for the region and improved standard of living. That ties in well to the fact that 76 per cent of businesses surveyed show support for the industry, or 92 per cent in Kitimat specifically. Eight out of 10 Kitimat residents surveyed strongly or moderately support LNG for export, dropping to 60% in the wider region. Nine out of 10 businesses in Kitimat strongly or moderately support LNG for export, dropping to 76% in the wider region. “The survey results have been a really useful check on the understanding and support of our project as well as testing how residents would like us to communicate project updates. We enjoy writing our quarterly newsletter, but we also wanted to check that
members of the community enjoy reading it,” said Katharine Birtwistle, Communications & Brand Manager of the LNG Canada project. The survey results show that mail tops the list of ways responders to the survey stated they would like LNG Canada to communicate with them at 32%, followed by going to the LNG Canada website at 22%, receiving an email at 16%, attending a community meeting or open house at 15% and surfing the Internet at 13%. Social media overall was at 6%, although it rose to 9% among residents between the ages of 18 to 34. For residents surveyed living in Kitimat, a visit to the LNG Canada site office came in at 15%. When it came to learning more about LNG Canada, one in five residents surveyed wanted to know more about the economic impact of the proposed project, and not surprisingly, the same percentage wanted to know the projected start date for the project. For businesses, economic impact and procurement opportunities topped the list, and similar to residents, 32% wanted to know when the project was projected to begin. “It is important for us to ensure our door is open for anyone to ask us a question or speak to us about any
This space is a collaborative promotional venture by LNG Canada and N2K Editor Cameron Orr
concerns or complaints they might have,” added Birtwistle. “It is great to see that 65% of residents in Kitimat were aware of our LNG Canada’s Community Advisory Committee (CAG) and 14% said they would contact a member if they had a concern.”
HIGHLIGHTS ◊ 82% - People in Kitimat who support the LNG industry ◊ Most common cited beneﬁts: Job creation, economic growth ◊ Most common cited concerns: tracking, impact on salmon habitat ◊ 2:1 - Ratio of favourable impression of LNG Canada versus unfavourable ◊ 84% - Favourable impression of LNG Canada among businesses
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AU T H O R I Z E D B U I L DE R
Volume 2 • Issue 6
MINING BENEFITS Pretivm outlines Brucejack approval 7
NEW OWNERSHIP DP World completes Fairview purchase 9
WASTE ENERGY Fraser Lake Sawmill completes plant 10
AERIAL SURVEY Helicopters to search for mineral sites 12
TRAINING FUNDS TransCanada creates new opportunity 14
STEWART SUCCESS Stewart World Port formally opened 16
EXPLORING LIFE Smithers geologists hard at work 18
AURORA READY Aurora LNG outlines Digby terminal 21
ELECTRIC HISTORY TL&T Electric ready for any sized job 22
MINERALS NORTH Smithers ready to host annual event 24
GOING HIGH-TECH Skeena Sawmills meets the demand 26
WORKERS WANTED Forest Products need 60,000 new hires 28
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Small business is the backbone of the economy in Northwest BC. We are doing what we can now to help grow small business and create jobs. Jeffrey Minhinnick and Travis Murphy own and operate Ye Olde Chop Bloc, a barbershop in Terrace, BC. They got involved with ThriveNorth to help grow their business. Jeffrey and Travis were runners-up in the ThriveNorth Business Challenge. Their prize money of $2500 has gone directly into expanding Ye Olde Chop Bloc. ThriveNorth helps entrepreneurs in Northern BC start and grow their own businesses. Want to get involved? Contact ThriveNorth at: e. firstname.lastname@example.org p. 1.800.464.2923
To learn more about ThriveNorth and other programs we support, visit www.princerupertlng.ca/socialinvestment. BG Canada is proposing an LNG facility on Ridley Island near Prince Rupert, BC. Stay informed by signing up for our email updates using the form on our Contact Us page. You can also come by our Prince Rupert ofďŹ ce located at 610 2nd Avenue West.
The benefits of
Gold mine approval means hundreds of jobs in the Northwest By Rod Link
errace and the Nass Valley are expecting benefits from the construction and operation of a (US) $747 million gold mine near Stewart. As many as 900 workers will be needed to construct the Brucejack gold mine, owned by Pretivm Resources. With production scheduled to begin in 2017, 400 workers will be needed over the planned 18-year life of the underground mine. Speaking in late September, Pretivm official Troy Shultz said the Northwest Regional Airport will be used to fly in/fly out outside workers, with vans then used for transport to the location. But there will also be an emphasis on local and regional hiring, he said. “During the construction process hiring is primarily contractor driven. As we transition into operation, then we will focus on direct hires,” said Shultz. “The contractors are familiar with our mandate to hire from local northern communities whenever possible. As well, when selecting contractors, those with connections to the local northern communities are given priority ... We do have plans to conduct
“The contractors are familiar with our mandate to hire from local northern communities.” - Troy Schultz a series of workshops on the types of employment available for local candidates as well as consult with community education facilities to identify and address training gaps.” There is also to be a strong Nass Valley connection to the project stemming from a benefits agreement signed with the Nisga’a Nation this year. It lays out the foundation for jobs, contracting and business opportunities and is based on the Brucejack property being within Nisga’a territory as outlined in the 2000 Nisga’a land claims treaty signed with the federal and provincial governments. See Page 8
The exact number of jobs for Nisga’a citizens and specific business opportunities are confidential, said Shultz. The benefits deal signed by the Nisga’a is one of several the Nisga’a Lisims Government has negotiated with resource companies planning large-scale projects within its area of influence. That list includes TransCanada, which has been chosen to build a natural gas pipeline to a planned liquefied natural gas plant near Prince Rupert, and Alloycorp, which wants to develop a molybdenum mine at Kitsault on the North Coast. The small Long Lake hydro-electric project finished last year near Stewart is one example where the Nisga’a are already benefitting, but the Brucejack mine is the first of the larger projects to get underway. “This project will not only bring benefits to the Nisga’a Nation in the form of employment opportunities, revenues and other contracting opportunities, but will be a benefit to the entire northwest regional economy,” said Nisga’a Nation president Mitchell Stevens. “This partnership once again demonstrates how the Nisga’a Nation is open to working with companies that wish to invest in the Nass Area.” Shultz also said Pretivm and its contractors have used and will continue to use local companies for specific services. Last week’s construction announcement followed closely a financing deal reached between Pretivm and two companies for approximately 70 per cent of the capital needed to complete the project.
The (US) $540 million financing comes in three parts – borrowing (US) $350 million, receiving (US) $150 million in advance for gold and silver to be mined and the purchase of (US) $40 million in company common shares. In a statement, Pretivm said the financing was sufficient to make the construction decision and that it was re-examining its costs. “As a significant portion of capital expenditures are sourced in Canadian dollars, the decline in the Canadian dollar is expected to be beneficial,” the company said. “In addition, certain aspects of the capital expenditures contemplated in the June 2014 feasibility study have already been incurred with the advance of the project, and Pretivm has begun to examine the opportunities to optimize the project as engineering advances.” Earlier financing for exploration and development came from a (US) $75 million deal reached in 2014 with the Chinese Zijin Mining Group. Pretivm acquired the Brucejack property in 2010 after which it began a drilling and development program to further define the ore body and develop reserves. A contract for 330-person camp has already been awarded and there is a road from the site leading east to Highway 37 North past the Meziadin Junction. Power is to come from a line running north of the Long Lake hydro project to the site which will then connect the mine to the provincial grid. Pretivm expects to award the contract for the power line construction early next year.
DP World completes acquisition of Fairview Terminal By Shaun Thomas
P World has now confirmed the completed acquisition of Fairview Terminal in Prince Rupert. A report from CEO Mohammed Sharaf, which was included in the company’s first half financial report, noted that the acquisition of the terminal was completed on Aug. 18. DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem said the purchase was part of an aggressive expansion undertaken by the company. “In 2015, we have invested over $3.5 billion in acquisitions and expansionary capex, and this investment leaves us well placed to capitalize on the significant medium to long-term growth potential of this industry ... We remain on course to deliver over 100 million TEUs [twenty foot equivalent units] of capacity by 2020 while maintaining the existing shape of our portfolio,” he said. “We believe our business is well positioned to continue to outperform the market. We remain focused on delivering relevant new capacity in the right
“Our business is well positioned to continue to outperform the market.” - Mohammed Sharaf markets, improving efficiencies and managing costs to drive profitability,” added Sharaf. The Fairview Terminal website, found online at www.mahercanada.com, has also been converted to reflect the ownership change and includes information on upcoming ship calls. Earlier this year the Prince Rupert Port Authority said the acquisition of Fairview Terminal by DP World, which is owned by the Dubai government, was “a positive step in the evolution of Prince Rupert’s port operations”.
From waste to
ENERGY Fraser Lake Sawmill goes green with biomass plant By Vivian Chui
team, instead of smoke, now escapes from the sawmill’s chimney in Fraser Lake. Celebrating the Fraser Lake Sawmill’s 60th anniversary, lumber company West Fraser opened the doors of its new neighbouring biomass plant for tours in September. Beehive burners that were used to burn away lumber production’s by-product waste are now replaced by the new plant, which is 99.7 per cent efficient in filtering waste and turning fuel to heat, said Michael Heavenor, the biomass plant’s shift engineer. “We’re making power without fossil fuels,” Heavenor said. “Before, we burned [the waste] and it was just gone ... now we can put it to good use.” The heat is transferred through thermal oil to a hydrocarbon called cyclopentane, which turns to vapour gas at a lower boiling point than water — thus turning power turbines at a lower temperature, Heavenor said. The heat transfer loop, called the Organic Rankine cycle, continues as the turbines drive generators to
“Before we burned [the waste] and it was just gone ... now we can put it to good use.” - Michael Heavenor produce electricity and water tanks cool the vapour gas to a liquid form again, to be ready for reheating by thermal oil. Though not the first of its kind in the area, the new energy plant’s processes will improve air quality, said John Rustad, MLA for Nechako Lakes. “The beehive burners used to emit fine particulates,” Rustad said, adding that mill workers in the past would cover their cars to avoid wood dust accumulation from the air. See Page 11
“It is nice to see it all come together.” - Tomas Schulz The bio-energy plant in Fraser Lake is the first of West Fraser’s biomass energy plant projects, with the next one taking place in Chetwynd, said project manager Tomas Schulz. From the first ground-breaking day in May 2013, the 25-month project included the coordination of 27 separate contractors of different types, with 120 employees at the site on any given day, Schulz added. “It’s nice to see it all together,” he said. The Ministry of Environment had recently released an air quality report for the Central Interior Air Zone — including nearby communities such as Prince George, Quesnel, Williams Lake, and Smithers — stating that Vanderhoof ’s air pollutant levels have exceeded national standards from 2011 to 2013. With data collected from 10 monitors in the area, Vanderhoof and Smithers are the two communities found to have a high 24-hour average amount of fine particulates, while the annual average amount is also high in Vanderhoof.
PRETIVM IS ADVANCING ITS HIGH-GRADE GOLD BRUCEJACK PROJECT IN NORTHERN BC.
Helicopters hired to seek out Northwest mineral deposits By Rod Link / Josh Massey
provincially-financed non-profit group is spending $2.4 million to better identify mineral deposits between Terrace and Smithers. Using a helicopter equipped with magnetic survey equipment, Geoscience BC will then make its information freely and equally available to exploration companies. According to Robert Quartermain, a board director of Geoscience BC and the chairman and CEO of Pretivm Resources that owns the in-development Brucejack gold mine, it’s the type of project that can provide a lift when going through a slowdown in the commodity market such as the one currently happening throughout the world. “When metal prices resume and there is access to risk capital, then it will bring more people into the area and start to provide the exploration work and impact on the economy,” he said. The helicopter is being supplied from Precision GeoSurveys of Vancouver and will be kept at the Quantum hangar and flown by a Quantum pilot.
“Having a tool like the geophysical tool we are using here, it can see deeper into the ground.” - Robert Quartermain Precision is in charge of the Northwest portion of the project, which will use about 30 per cent of the total available money, said Geoscience BC vice-president for minerals and mining Bruce Madu. Flying overhead, an asparagus-shaped sensor attached to a helicopter relays data from the reflective reactions of the electromagnetic waves. “Having a tool like the geophysical tool we are using here, it can see deeper into the ground,” said Quartermain. See Page 13
“All kinds of radio waves are constantly hitting the earth, and so what this electromagnetic survey does is take those magnetic waves that are coming from the sun and hit the earth, and then they will react with the earth differently and this goes along and interprets those waves,” he said. The project will also conduct geochemical studies and pull together existing data with the expectation of stimulating claim-staking and other exploration work. In total, the airborne portion of the project will cover 6,700 square kilometres of the northwest. Some information is already known about mineral deposits in the survey but this project is to fill in any gaps. “This high-resolution airborne magnetic survey will provide the public with much more detailed information about the area’s mineral potential compared to the data
that are currently available,” Quartermain. Quartermain is one of 14 volunteer directors of Geoscience’s board. Founded in 2005, Geoscience BC has received more than $50 million from the provincial government to spend on projects throughout B.C. This particular project builds on work done in the area in 2008 by Geoscience BC with the assistance of the Bulkley-Nechako regional district and the Northern Development Initiative Trust. That work, also airborne, involved flying defined routes of between two and four kilometres apart. This time the spacing will be 250 metres, providing much more detailed information for companies. Geoscience BC will also hold information sessions with local communities as the project progresses.
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Funding Aboriginal TransCanada, TRICORP contribute $100,000 to training program By Kevin Campbell
ast month, a number of students got the rare chance to directly ask an industry professional what the impacts of a potential natural gas pipeline would be to the North Coast region and how they might be able to create a career based around the LNG industry. Kiel Giddens, Community and Aboriginal Relations coordinator with the Coastal GasLink Pipeline Project for TransCanada, visited the Prince Rupert Tribal Resources Investment Corporation (TRICORP) offices on Sept. 10. With him came the company’s knowledge and expertise and a significant investment opportunity for 12 students looking to break into the field of LNG construction and management. “I know that all of you are here because you’re interested and want to be able to take part in the diverse opportunities that are proposed or already happening here in the Northwest,” said Giddens during an afternoon joint-investment announcement with TRICORP. “The demand for trained workers for the development of the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project and the Coastal GasLink Project – both TransCanada projects
“They want to create careers for Aboriginal people in the Northwest not just jobs.” - Jacquie Ridley – is significant. We’re going to need a lot of workers and all of you will be at the forefront of those opportunities,” Giddens added. TransCanada and TRICORP together announced a $250,000 partnership to offer skills development and training for Aboriginal people in northwestern B.C. through TransCanada’s Pathway to Pipeline Readiness program. The partnership has produced a 10-week program for 12 students in Prince Rupert, which started the following week. See Page 15
The 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday course is just one program out of three that will be spread out across the region. The second one is tentatively scheduled to begin in Hazelton once the course has finished in Prince Rupert and the third will be at a yet-to-be-decided location. Giddens fielded questions from the students as they embarked on their first week of classes and training. “This morning, we gave what we call a ‘Pipeline 101’ presentation and it was great to hear your questions,” Giddens told the crew. “It’s definitely an interested and enthusiastic group ... We’ve been doing a lot of listening over the past number of years and we’ve learned how important skills training is to the labour force throughout northern B.C. ... Part of being a good neighbour is providing those economic opportunities.” TRICORP’s chief operating officer, Jacquie Ridley, noted that TRICORP’s ongoing relationship with Service Canada has enabled them to facilitate training programs such as this one. “During the past three-and-a-half years, we’ve had a contract with Service Canada to deliver the [Northwest Aboriginal Canadian Entrepreneurs] program (NWACE). Then this year, we got lucky and got a [Skills and Partnership Fund] program going with Service Canada,” she said.. The $250,000 making up the programming for the three northwest areas will help 42 students in all, with TransCanada and TRICORP each contributing $50,000 in cash and in-kind contributions and the federal government also contributing funds.
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“[TransCanada] believes in the same thing we believe; and that’s that they want careers for the Aboriginal people in the Northwest – not just jobs,” said Ridley. “Most of them will enter a trade or are going to enter into something that will advance them forward in their educational career. We don’t want them to just have training, we want them to have careers at the end of all of this.” A normal day of class for the 12 Prince Rupert-based students would typically include class time, starting at 8:30 a.m. and skills and trades training at 3:30 p.m. “The students will be learning some of those foundational skills that are important for them to help get work, so there’s going to be upgrading of literacy and numeracy skills as well as some hard certification in various safety courses that will be delivered throughout the 10-week program,” said Giddens. During that Thursday morning’s briefing, Giddens answered questions ranging from what duties a camp worker performs, to how the TransCanada pipelines are environmentally friendly. “We had a lot of questions based on what types of jobs were available, what a typical workday might look like for someone who was working in a camp and lots of specific questions on how we protect the environment and how we root the pipeline to take into account First Nations and other community values,” said Giddens. The Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project is a wholly owned subsidiary of TransCanada Pipelines Limited and, if built, would be approximately 900 km in length from Hudson’s Hope, B.C. to Port Edward.
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Ready to ship Stewart World Port open for business By Rod Link
$70 million commercial wharf being billed as a gateway for goods and products in and out of northern B.C., the Yukon and northern Alberta was officially opened on Sept. 16. Located in Stewart, the Stewart World Port offers shippers a day and a half closer shipping time to and from Asia than can be had by using southern port facilities, says company official Brad Moffat. “The name is self-explanatory – we’re opening Stewart to the world,” he said. That Stewart is ice-free and that its harbour area is very deep offers competitive advantages, Moffat added. “If not the deepest, I believe it is one of the deepest,” he
said of Stewart’s ranking among ports on the west coast. In the shipping world the Stewart World Port is called a break bulk facility, handling goods and material that aren’t normally shipped in containers and are not shipped in bulk such as grain. “We’re open to the mining sector, oil and gas, project cargo, pipes, logs,” said Moffat. One example might be accommodation modules for workers at a resource camp, he said. Moffat said the company has already secured one client, but that he could not yet release its identity. “We are negotiating a number of contracts,” he added. Stewart World Port is privately owned by Ted Pickell
of Fort St. John who also owns Arctic Construction, the company that built the facility. “He’s a visionary,” said Moffat in adding that Pickell kept construction on track for a three-year completion schedule. Work is now starting on a new phase, this time a $60 million project featuring a travelling bulk shiploader. “This is a large belt system, allowing us to move products like mine concentrate or wood chips. It’s a tremendous amount of infrastructure and will move up and down the wharf so that ships won’t have to move,” said Moffat. The shiploader is rated at being able to handle 3,300 tonnes of material per hour.
“The name is self explanatory — we are opening Stewart to the world.” - Brad Moffat Also part of the new phase are concentrate-holding sheds. Guests at the opening included B.C. Lieutenant-Governor Judith Guichon, who was on a tour of northern B.C.
Smithers geologists go to great heights for mining industry By Cecile Favron
ut of the field and into the office: With mining exploration in a downturn, geologists are facing the familiar challenge of finding other jobs to hold them over. Anastasia Ledwon is one who has since landed herself a position as an outreach coordinator for Smithers Exploration Group. “In June I did a lot of outreach work with the elementary schools teaching topography, contours, maps, cookie mining – we make chocolate chip cookies and we stuff an M&M somewhere inside of it and then you take a toothpick and you have to excavate the M&M and then you reclaim the cookie,” explained Ledwon. Baking sweet treats is a far cry from her work when the mining industry is booming. She has travelled around the country and the world doing exploration wherever the prospects are in her favour. “One of the best things is seeing places that other people don’t get to see,” she said of a job that often requires camping out in the remote wilderness to spend days taking samples and looking at rocks.
“Safety is a big concern. There aren’t any contracts any more that will let me go out by myself.” - Anastasia Ledwon Smithers-based geologist Lorie Farrell said for some of her projects, she worked on a reverse circulation drill and analyzed the rock samples that came out of it, did general mapping work, and sought outcrop and determined what kind of rocks are below the ground based on what’s at the surface. “In an attempt to possibly find a mine, that’s certainly the whole point of it. You hope to find a concentration of metals that is high enough to eventually become a mine,” she explained. See Page 19
“I have yet to work on a project that became a mine.” The reality is that most geologists will not work on a mining project. “The stat that is incredible is that for every 2,500 projects, one makes it to a mine,” explained Ledwon.` She said that the northwest area is really lacking grassroots exploration projects that could lead to the chance of finding of a mine. “The statistics have it that from grassroots to a mine averages 28 years, so from finding the initial prospector rock to going through all the exploration is 28 years on average,” she cited. The long time frame means there needs to be an upturn in the amount of prospecting before geologists will find work in abundance again. But even in the slump there is a bright side for some; Ledwon has found work in reclamation as companies are eager to get back reclamation bonds they paid to the provincial government when they claimed the land. When geologists are in demand, Ledwon said that they are snapped up into high paying contracts. And that volatile job market can bring in a carelessness that gives them a bad name. “We worked with the government trying to get more inspectors because we are in an industry where we know what it looks like from the outside and it has a bad history. There’s a lot to mining and exploration that people don’t understand,” she explained. Still, big exploration means far away projects for the
always-travelling geologist. Ledwon and Farrell have both worked in the Arctic – something which also takes survival know-how. See Page 20
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“The company that I worked with in the Arctic, they actually brought in specialized people to teach an arctic survival course,” Farrell explained. But even if the job is closer to home, Farrell says that you still have to be prepared. “[Survival gear] can come in really handy – there is a chance that when a helicopter drops you off somewhere even if it’s around here and the weather comes in, you need to be prepared to possibly spend the night,” she said. And safety in the industry is just as important as topnotch science, said Ledwon. “Safety is a big concern, there aren’t any contracts anymore that let me go out by myself, you take a field assistant,” she explained. “When we were working south of Houston, there was one particular area that was a grizzly habitat – we still had to do the work there and my field assistant all he did that day was carry a gun. I needed somebody that – when I’m down looking at the rocks or taking the water
“The more you’ve been in the industry, the more you want to dedicate to do it right. ” - Anastasia Ledwon sample – they’re just watching and listening.” Although geologists don’t have the security of employment and can face unpredictable challenges when out in the field, Ledwon emphasized that the job needs to be done. “The more that you’ve been in the industry, the more that you want to dedicate it to do it right because you get to see all those places and you know that we can’t survive without mining,” she said. .
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AURORA By Shaun Thomas
esidents of Prince Rupert had their chance to weigh in on what should be covered by environmental assessment of Aurora LNG on Sept. 23, with people packing the North Coast Convention Centre to learn more about the project. The company, a joint venture between Nexen Energy and INPEX Gas British Columbia Ltd., is proposing to construct a liquefied natural gas export terminal on the tip of Digby Island. Plans call for the facility to process between 20 and 24 million tonnes per annum at full build out with a marine terminal capable of accommodating up to three LNG carriers. The company is planning to submit its environmental assessment application in the spring or summer of 2016, with construction beginning around 2020 and operations starting in 2024. Aurora LNG has identified five pillars of the environmental assessment that will be studied and reported on. These include effects on the environment
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ELECTRIC HISTORY Kitimat’s TL&T Electric proves its up to any task By Cameron Orr
he ‘70s weren’t even half over when TL&T Electric came to life. It was 1974 when two guys named Tom and another partner named Luigi formed the company (hence the company’s namesake initials). Today only Tom Forrest is still around, albeit retired from work. His son Steven Forrest is carrying on the operations as owner and operations manager. It is, as he would would say, a family business. The company has a wide array of offered services. As an electric company they cover the tiniest of work right up to the million dollar projects. That is, they do heavy industry, commercial, and residential. In fact the company’s start was a modest job for Eurocan wiring a water tank. It was the company’s first $3,200. From there the company continued other work such as wiring up new houses, and they got a job in Kitimat’s old hospital too. It’s a Kitimat firm, but TL&T has found experience
“We won’t bite off any more than we can chew ... we will meet the client’s needs.” - Steven Forrest overseas too. Forrest recalls one high pressure job, an egg laying farm in Taiwan. The facility had a 65,000 egg capacity and there was an issue at a crucial point in the facility. Word had gone around that TL&T had a knack for high pressure work in a short amount of time. Not that there wasn’t some hesitation to go, this was during the peak of an avian flu outbreak. But technicians were dispatched to the farm and got the job done. The company has also had a presence in other places too, such as Salt Lake City in the United States. See Page 23
â€œWe could handle the pressure,â€? said Forrest. As a business they maintain diversity. No pun intended on their Taiwan job, but Forrest says they donâ€™t put all their eggs in one basket. The modernization of the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter certainly meant a boost to them. At the companyâ€™s peak there were around 117 people on their payroll. Itâ€™s not just aluminum. Another of their high profile clients was the Kitimat LNG project for their early works in Kitimat. Today theyâ€™re hovering around 40 people, but theyâ€™re ready for quick expansion. Forrest said having capacity for the heavier times in Kitimat just came down to having a plan. Their success also hinges on knowing when to say no. â€œWe wonâ€™t bite off any more than we can chew,â€? he said. â€œWe will meet the clientsâ€™ needs.â€? Basically, they know their limits. Theyâ€™ll always rise to meet any challenges though. They went through preparation and licensing requirements for both the aluminum smelter and for liquefied natural gas companies. And even with the Eurocan Pulp and Paper Mill closed, they still had work â€œbabysittingâ€? the systems on site, said Forrest. Today, as Kitimat sits between one boost in construction activity and potentially another, he said theyâ€™re working to develop the younger generation to
â€œWithout our people we are nothing.â€? - Steven Forrest ensure theyâ€™re ready for a new market. Clearly the company has expanded at just the right rate, rising from their beginnings in the old Pop Shoppe building in the Service Centre to the building theyâ€™re in now, constructed in the 1980s. They also hold real estate nearby, another example of the company diversifying Forrest says the bottom line of their success, though, is the people who are there. â€œWithout our people weâ€™re nothing,â€? he said, adding that all the key people in the company are local as well. He said heâ€™s looking forward to LNG getting off the ground in Kitimat and says he hopes that the companies ensure the opportunities flow to local firms such as his. However industry plays out for Kitimat, Forrest sees TL&T finding a fit in the future. Itâ€™s just over 40 years in operation for the company and with him representing the companyâ€™s second generation, he believes there could be a third. â€œIf we can go on for another 50 years, maybe we will.â€?
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ROCK Smithers ready to host 2016 Minerals North conference By Cecile Favron
rganizers of next year’s Minerals North conference in Smithers are looking to make the annual event a memorable experience by highlighting the vivacious entertainment scene here. “The organizing committee wants to bring the conference a uniquely Bulkley Valley feel,” explained Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach. “So to do that we want to bring them to some of our entertainment downtown and we are hoping to bring delegates out to Telkwa.” The convention has grown to be one of the largest mining events in Western Canada and the association which oversees Minerals North has endeavoured to bring its benefits to a different community each year. “I think it has maintained its favour because it is community led. Every year the conference is kind of different because it is in a different place across Northern B.C.,” said this year’s chair Danielle Smyth. Last year’s event took place in Mackenzie and centred around their Mount Milligan Mine run by Thompson Creek Metals – a company that is also working in the Smithers area, but for a much different reason. After they abandoned their
“The organizing committee wants to bring the conference a uniquely Bulkley Valley feel.” - Taylor Bachrach proposal for a molybdenum mine on Hudson Bay Mountain, they have now started the reclamation work necessary before they leave the site for good. Smithers intends to showcase their own positive mining history at next year’s event with the help of the local museum. “We have a very unique history and we have a history of almost 100 years of exploration and mining in our area. We want the Minerals North conference to bring out some of the stories, so we are going to work with the Bulkley Valley Museum in order to do that in more of a community forum,” explained Smyth. See Page 25
The event is scheduled to lead in to the May long weekend, allowing those attending to stay in the community with their families after the workshops end. And planners do not foresee it conflicting with any other resource conference after Mackenzie’s coincided with Canada North Resources Expo held in Prince George this year. The next Minerals North is also staying local by inviting mostly Smithers vendors to take part and putting up delegates in local hotels. The theme for this year’s convention is ‘Excellence in Innovation’ – something that Smithers has more than its fair share to show off, said Smyth. And the focus is not just on technological innovation, they also hope to feature innovation in community involvement and environmental approaches. Involving all interested parties is a priority of the committee, with a First Nation representative on the board. “We have a representative of the Wet’suwet’en on our organizing committee. We also have a sub committee that is focusing on just that – trying to bring more meaningful engagement with our First Nation communities to the conference,” said Smyth. She also stresses that those who have concerns about mining in the region are also welcome at the conference to share their ideas. “As much as it is a conference focused around exploration and mining, it’s really supposed to act as a venue and enable meaningful discussion between anybody who has interest or concerns with regards to exploration and mining,” she said.
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“So we are trying to move that tone as this is an open-voice conference.” In the agreement between the Town of Smithers and the Minerals North association, the responsibility for pulling off a revenue-raking event is placed on the community taxpayers. But, citing that there have been no Minerals North event in recent memory that has come short of a surplus, Mayor Bachrach is assured that the town will benefit from the conference. “We are confident that the organizing committee will carry off a successful conference,” he said.
Skeena Sawmills goes high tech to meet customer demand By Josh Massey
n the lumber industry, like other manufacturing sectors, quality is king. If a buyer overseas opens a package of timber and sees it’s graded incorrectly, this spells big problems for the mill back home because it risks losing a client in a world where there’s always another supplier and orders can change on a dime. That’s why Skeena Sawmills’ most advanced piece of equipment is a computerized USNR quality-checking machine and also why on staff are quality control officials to monitor the product coming off the sawmill lines and going through the planer mill. “It basically scans the piece, sees the profile of the piece. It makes the decision. If there is too much wane or missing wood, it will know and it will send it back to another machine to get it trimmed back, or it will automatically trim defects out,” says Frank Gration, who is a quality control operator for Skeena Sawmills. According to mill vice-president Roger Keery, the USNR computer is the most advanced piece of technology at the mill, and instrumental to Gration getting quality checks
“It’s been pretty good in the business for the last few years.” - Roger Keery done. “It’s one of the most modern pieces of equipment in the plant,” said Keery. “It looks at every piece of wood that goes through the mill, individually, and then it knows what size it is,” says Gration. “I’ll watch pieces go through to make sure it’s doing what I want it to do.” If there is anything wrong with the cut wood, it drops that piece down onto another conveyor belt where it gets sent back to a previous stage and recut. See Page 29
Other modern devices include a moisture meter which tells them how much water might be in a certain batch, which is important because sometimes coastal logs, such as hemlock, can hold quite a bit of water. Apart from these more high-tech elements, the mill is still just a traditional lumber mill with a specific type of product coming through day after day – the main one being CS2, short for China Standard Number Two, which is their bread and butter and conforms to Chinese measurements. The mill was built back in the sixties by nowcity freeman Bill McRae and then owned and operated by West Fraser for many years. It closed because of a four-month strike/lockout in 2007 and never did fully re-open afterward because of a declining lumber market. West Fraser sold to Chinese-owned by Roc Holdings Ltd in 2011 and the mill re-opened the following year. Since then, the mill has steadily processed 30 truck loads of coastal trees per production day until the markets weakened again this year, causing a shutdown for several months this summer. In its modern incarnation, Skeena Sawmills now sends 80 per cent of its wood to Asia, and the other 20 per cent mainly to Canadian markets, with the U.S. spots being too complicated to ship to and their demands not in line with what Skeena Sawmills generally supplies. “It’s been pretty good in the business for the last few years, [but] we are going back, it’s challenging right now, all this angst in the world economy,” said Keery. As for the Chinese market, since construction of homes is done mainly in concrete, wood products are generally only used for forming the concrete, which is where the CS2 comes in. They also sell to oil field operators in both western and eastern Canada, supplying wood for rig mats and pipe blocking. “People are buying our wood who want to use it in the furniture business,” Keery added of the Chinese end markets. “For our product now, they use it for frames in upholstered furniture and so on. It’s not something that is visible to the user.” But some of the wood coming through is high grade, and with that is the high hope for specialty markets. “A portion of it is really high quality and is good for joinery, which is decorative type woodwork uses. One of our goals is to get more of our wood into high value joinery products,” said Keery.
WORKERS WANTED Forest products industry estimates 60,000 people needed By Flavio Nienow
he Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) estimates that the forest products industry will be hiring 60,000 new workers across Canada in the next five years. “One of the reasons we need workers is because many of the baby boomers in the current workforce are retiring,” explained Susan Murray, vice-president of public relations for FPAC. “But there are other important reasons as well – unlike the energy, mining and many other industries, the forest products industry is growing in size.” According to the federal government, in 2014 the value of Canada’s forest product exports increased by 9.8 per cent over 2013, rising to $30.8 billion from $28.4 billion. Furthermore the industry has been shaping up to be a dynamic new face. The industry’s traditional products - pulp, paper and lumber – are being used to create new products such as renewable bio-fuels, green bio-plastics, bio-pharmaceuticals, bulletproof vests, car parts and airplane wings. Since the industry has become more innovative, diverse and technically advanced, there is a growing need for new types of skilled workers. The long list of workers that the industry requires includes biologists, millwrights, electricians, engineers, sales staff, truck drivers, foresters, chemists, economist, risk analysts and IT specialists.
According to Murray, companies are already facing challenges to find the skilled workers they need. That is why the FPAC is now working to rebrand the industry in order to attract younger people and a wider range of professionals. “Many people thought that the forest products industry was a sunset industry; we need to convince young people that instead the industry is modern and future oriented,” said Murray. The FPAC has launched a campaign called “The Greenest Workforce” in an effort to connect young professionals to employers, as well as to rebrand the forest products industry as a “green industry”. “Unlike the oil and gas industry, we are part of the solution to climate change as the world moves to a low carbon economy,” said Murray. “The forest products industry is an industry that understands the value of a renewable natural resource and it is always striving to find smart new ways to do more with wood fibre.” In the story ‘Millennials, these career sectors are worth considering’ published in The Globe and Mail on Aug. 24, 2015, the forest products industry was selected as one of the most promising industries for young Canadian professionals. “We feel that the forest industry is becoming more attractive,” said Murray. To find out more about The Greenest Workforce campaign, visit http://thegreenestworkforce.ca/
NEW BARGE By Kevin Campbell
t was one of the more intricate christenings ever to take place on northern coastal waters. Hanging from a crane and attached to a plastic rope was a wine bottle that wasn’t long for this world last Thursday afternoon at Butze Terminal. The crane itself sat on the newest pride and joy of Broadwater Industries – the “Broadwater Driver” - the pile driving spud barge about to be christened. The ‘Driver’ measures 130 feet long by 50 feet wide by 8.5 feet deep and on this day, sits just on the shores of Butze Terminal. On the day of the christening, there was crab legs, refreshments and barbecue meat on hand at the terminal for anyone wishing to take a tour inside the monster that dominated the shoreline. Those who did head inside were greeted by a narrow, slumping staircase that leads them down below deck. The first thing noticed wass the fresh paint smell, as the interior is decked out in clean, white paint, that will never look this immaculate again. Navigating through the mix of tunnels and open-spaced rooms meant to hold any cargo from coal, grain, oil, chemicals, trash, gravel, sand, recyclables or other materials, one could see hydraulic pressure lines stretching along the walls and first aid kits and a small kitchen that occupies one room. “We spent two years planning for this [barge],” exclaimed Broadwater president Doug Mackereth to a crowd of approximately 50 people when all the tours were completed and it was time to christen the vessel.
“Now it’s ready to work.” The Manitowoc crawler crane atop of the barge inched forward, bringing the bottle of wine with it. Doug and Teresa Mackereth, standing atop a boat facing opposite the ‘Driver’, grab hold of the bottle. After one unsuccessful attempt that lands the wine in the ocean a second strong swing from the president hurled the christening bottle straight on top of the Broadwater Driver’s logo, splattering the foamy drink everywhere. The ‘Driver’ is a pivotal piece of equipment that will boost the company’s marine construction division immensely, said Mackereth. It’s also the largest marine barge north of Vancouver. “We’re getting prepared for hopefully all the good things that are going to happen here. There’s going to be a lot of marine work and we want to be part of it,” said the president. Even before it was christened, the barge already had undertaken some work, setting 36-tonne anchors and placing the breakwater at the Cow Bay marina. For now, the Broadwater Driver’s chambers are bare, but not for long. “You’ll never see it like this again,” laughed Mackereth.
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Trade is building stronger communities. The Port of Prince Rupert is growing opportunities and prosperity by connecting the communities of northern BC. Last year, port activity was directly responsible for the equivalent of 3,060 permanent full-time jobs. Watch and share our video tribute to the workers and families of BCâ€™s gateway industry: youtube.com/rupertport.
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