Long Harbour plant needs more workers

Daniel MacEachern
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Work continues on the huge buildings at the VALE site in Long Harbour in this file photo. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Vale’s new nickel-processing plant is just over halfway finished.

Speaking at the Mineral Resources Review conference, Don Stevens, general manager of the Long Harbour processing plant, says construction is more than half done.

“The engineering is basically done. Our procurement, the majority of the packages are awarded, we just have very few contracts left. It’s about executing the work rather than procuring things at this point,” he said. “(We’re) getting the concrete in place, which is almost finished, and getting the final steel inside there and getting those buildings closed in by (the end of) this fall so we can start putting equipment in in the new year.”

Largely due to the scope and complexity of the project, Stevens told the crowd, “resource availability” — i.e. tradespeople — is a major concern.

“At this point we have about 2,000 people on the construction site, and we project that will go well over 3,000 by the first part of next year,” he said, adding that construction has provided 7.5 million person-hours of employment, 70 per cent of which have gone to Newfoundland and Labrador workers.

After the presentation, Stevens told The Telegram their assessments show a shortage of the tradespeople the plant will need next year.

“We’re projecting a need for over 3,000, upwards of 3,500 people on the construction site, and we’ve assessed the tradespeople that we have in the province and in the area, and this point we’re projecting our need is greater than the capacity to fill it in the local union halls.” he said. He said the Long Harbour Employers’ Association is placing ads across the country to recruit workers.

“We hope that’ll be successful, but if it’s not, we’ll have to look at other options, he said.

Bob Carter, manager of corporate relations for Vale, said the plant is currently using several hundred people from outside the province on the construction side.

“We expect that that trend will continue,” he said. “We’ve been able to source people primarily in Atlantic Canada, and our objective, firstly, is to find as many people in Newfoundland and Labrador as we can who have the qualifications that the contractors require to complete the project. If we’ve exhausted that pool, then we’ll look, obviously, in Canada, and at this point in time we’re doing a pan-Canada search, and we’ll have to see how that advertising works in terms of identifying qualified candidates for the contractors to consider, and hopefully we’ll able to beat the bushes, so to speak, and find the resources we need.”

When the $3-billion plant hits full production, expected in 2016, it will produce 50,000 tonnes per year in nickel rounds, 4,500 tonnes per year in copper cathodes, and 2,500 tonnes per year of cobalt rounds.



Twitter: TelegramDaniel

Organizations: Mineral Resources Review, Pan-Canada

Geographic location: Long Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Canada

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Recent comments

  • jason
    January 19, 2012 - 09:26

    I found out that Long Harbour wont hire students from other schools in Newfoundland that took heavy equipment.I think premier should recognized that the people in Newfoundland do go school here to get jobs so they can stay home with there families and have to go away. Reality

  • Robert l Brown
    November 24, 2011 - 17:11

    I Also Answered Their Add In The Newspaper And Got No Responce The Local Union In Saint John NB Has Not Been Contacted For Tradesmen In The Steamfitting And Welding Trades

  • John
    November 13, 2011 - 15:13

    Even people who have worked for Vale at the Demo plant in Argentia are being overlooked for work??? What is up Vale?

  • Marystown
    November 12, 2011 - 07:45

    I am a journeyman union member looking for work, I call the union every week, presently I am below 100 on the union list. I asked them about Long Hr ad needing tradesman and was told that Long hr was not requesting any workers at this time. Why place an ad when they aren't hiring?

  • Steve
    November 11, 2011 - 14:53

    Local unions are like any other business's out there. They won't be taking new members until all of their members are working. They just don't take people in for the sake of taking people in and collecting dues. Just like companys hire when someone is needed. You don't train people to be electrian's, pipefitters, welders, boilermakers, carpenters, or millwrights in a matter of weeks. So your idea of taking people off the street to build a facility like this is crazy. Good luck all

  • Chad
    November 10, 2011 - 08:43

    I would like to say that i don't believe this story at all!! I would have to agree with the people that have posted on this article to date. My brother has been trying to get into the IBEW for the past 1 1/2 years. He is a 3 rd year appentice and they can't return his calls, when he don't get an answering machine no one can help him because the right person isn't there. There should be a story about the local unions and why they are doing what their doing. Another problem is that the money being paid out isn't enough for trades people. The wages need to be at least another $10 per hour higher.

  • Dunville Man
    November 07, 2011 - 22:29

    I will tell you the problem with this its the unoin wont let people join. ok i am 21 years old finished collage at the age of 18 i did HEO at cona in placentia. ok once i finished the trade i went into the union to join they told me i needed 10 years experience to join. well how will i get the experience if the older newfoundlanders wont give young newfoundlanders a chance. i should have been pu in the unoin right away cuz i am local but the union told me to go away to get your experience and he said thats what he had to do to find work well back when he was growing up there was no work so why should i have to go away to find work when there is work in newfoundland!!!!!! well i guess this young newfoundlander will have to soon pack up to go to albertia to find work cuz it seems everywere i go they want experience .....

  • William Daniels
    November 07, 2011 - 20:17

    A friend of mine applied for a in Bull Arm. An american got the job.

    • John
      November 10, 2011 - 11:12

      Americans are smarter

  • Jenna
    November 07, 2011 - 07:33

    My fiance has applied and he is a 3rd year electrical apprentice. He hasn't heard anything back. Maybe before you go outside and look you could call him back first. He is very interested. Let me know and I'll give you his phone # and email.

    • steve
      November 11, 2011 - 15:07

      Jenna your fiance needs more experiance there are lots of 3rd year apprentices out there. Here in alberta there lots of unemployed unionized journeyman electrians. He needs to get his hours where ever he can and get that JM Cert how ever he can. good luck Jenna

  • Pat
    November 06, 2011 - 09:09

    I think all of this is lies. I am a journeymen welder with all kinds of experience in welding and in management role. I have sent many resumes to the long harbor site and all the union halls in Newfoundland. I moves back to Nfld from Alberta in hoping to find work 2 years ago and never got much as an interview. So I still travel back to Alberta because I faint find a job here. Also I have lots of friends that would love to go to work in Nfld but they faint find a job either. So if someone could tell me how to get a job in. Long harbor post it please

    • Steve
      November 11, 2011 - 14:58

      Go to local 488 in Edmonton and start working as a welder instead of working for Flint or Ledcor! Then if you want transfer into NL local from Alberta and become and stay unionized welder. Good luck to you

  • Paradise Man
    November 05, 2011 - 17:29

    Question- since there is such a labour shortage in NL, why don't the NL government consider offering a unique educational situation for those young men/woman who are currently unemployed/uneducated. Offer a FAST-TRACK course through CONA, have a educational/recruiting blitz for 2-3 weeks...you'd quickly see people come out of the wood-work jumping at the chance. Free training for these Newfoundland and Labradorians- hmmmm, like the government did "back in the day" for the nurses, to address the SHORTAGES. Why would we outsource and look for people in 'Upper Canada', when Dunderdale can just make one smart decision and say "calling all men and women, do you want a job'. Then, these people can build up their confidence, strengthen their resumes, and, build on their future. Dunderdale did say it was about 'Energy' right? Why not stimulate the people, get them excited, give them passion....give them a job. Its worth the risk. for an amazing reward. Come on VALE, jump on the band-wagon. Do something for the greater good of the people. Sign people up- get them on board!

  • JobLess
    November 05, 2011 - 16:41

    Mainly the reason why noone took the job is the fact that the people who work there now are only getting a few hours here & there; anyday its raining or windy, shifts are cut and often times people are sent home and looses pay. One cannot blame the conditions of NL weather, but it should be different though, once it becomes an inside job & one is guaranteed a paycheck every week. I know of lots of hard-working folks who would be more than willing, if given a chance .. no need to go global with this one!

  • thomas nash
    November 05, 2011 - 10:28

    why dont they look at people who r tradesmen and women without a journeyperson certificate lots of people r highly qualified without that pc of paper