Former Newfoundland premier Danny Williams has been appointed a special adviser with a project in Labrador for Alderon Iron Ore Corp. — Telegram file photo
An iron ore company with a project in Labrador has appointed former premier Danny Williams as special adviser to its chairman.
Alderon Iron Ore Corp. announced the appointment Thursday morning. Alderon, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and St. John’s, is developing the Kami project in the Labrador Trough, near Fermont, Que., and Wabush and Labrador City in Labrador.
The company expects to begin commercial production in 2015 and produce eight million tonnes per year at a grade of 65.5 per cent iron. Alderon estimates the project will create 1,500 full-time jobs over 20 years, including 268 jobs at the mine and concentrator, with the rest provided indirectly through local service and support industries. The company also estimates the project will create more than 750 jobs during construction.
“We’ve got a pretty big project we’re undertaking,” said Mark Morabito, Alderon’s executive chairman, noting that the company expects to double the mine’s output soon after production begins, which would bring it close to the Iron Ore Co. of Canada’s current output (IOC is also studying the feasibility of expanding to 50 million tonnes per year).
“If you’re building a mine in Newfoundland and Labrador, and you want someone to help guide you through that process and to explain to you how to do things in Newfoundland and Labrador, then who better to tell you than, as a private citizen in any event, than Danny Williams? Mr. Williams had a tremendous pedigree before he ever entered politics, and of course that is of value in and of itself, because we are running a business and building a company, and Danny’s already proven before he became premier that he knows how to do that. He didn’t get the nickname ‘Danny Millions’ for nothing.”
Morabito said Williams’ experience and knowledge of government operations and “regulatory hurdles” will be important, but he also acknowledged that Williams’ popularity as premier was a factor in the appointment.
“He knows Newfoundland and Labrador better than anybody, and I think that the fact that he was, I think ‘revered’ is the word I would use, and I think it’s appropriate, by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, certainly does mean a lot to us.”
However, Morabito declined to specify what the duties of the special adviser will be.
“I don’t want to get into the details of his contract. We’re not required to disclose all that because he’s not a senior officer or a director, so there’s a certain amount of privacy he’s entitled to, and I’m going to respect that,” he said.
“However, basically, he will attend meetings if we ask him to, and he will make himself available on a regular basis so that we can consult with him as we move the project along.”
Morabito said compensation for the position, which is an open-ended contract for Williams, comes in the form of stock options.
“There are no fees associated with this. He has a stock option position, but other than that, there are no fees.”
In a statement released today, Williams said, “I am honoured to be joining Alderon as its Kami Project is the first greenfields iron ore project in the Labrador Trough expected to go to development in the last 35 years and will be an important contributor to the economy of Labrador West and Newfoundland and Labrador as a whole for many years to come.”