Major layoff at Long Harbour

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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More than 1,000 laid off as Phase 1 work comes to an end

A major layoff has occurred at the Vale hydromet processing plant at Long Harbour.

Bob Carter, Vale’s manager of corporate affairs, told The Telegram this morning the principal contractor at the site has laid off skilled trades workers because major mechanical work on Phase 1 has been completed.

Carter couldn’t say how many have been laid off at this stage, but he estimates it’s in excess of 1,000.

He said the peak workforce in Long Harbour was about 6,000 or more, but now with the first phase being completed Thursday, the numbers will “trail to 600 to 800 workers.”

The contractor plans to begin recalling 600 to 800 workers beginning Tuesday of next week, Carter said.

The layoffs today were expected, he said. “We’ve been alerting the media that there would be a significant reduction,” he said, once major mechanical work on Phase 1 was completed.

Some workers have posted on Twitter that they knew layoffs were coming but didn’t expect them until closer to Christmas.

Related story by Ashley Fitzpatrick

The Telegram reported last weekend that major construction work on Vale's new, multibillion-dollar hydromet processing plant at Long Harbour had been completed.

Construction at Long Harbour began in April 2009.

The development was subdivided into large "phases" of work. The first phase involved constructing all of the buildings and systems required to allow the plant to be turned over to a commissioning team.

"We met our objective," Carter said last Friday. "We had what we call construction mechanical completion on Oct. 30 - one day ahead of target."

In July, with construction on Phase 1 about 86 per cent complete, Vale launched the "Long Harbour Completion Challenge" - offering millions of dollars in new incentives to construction workers, in order to maintain a reasonable project deadline.

The next major phase of work - the start-up of the plant, finishing work at the port site and development of internal systems to allow for the processing of Voisey's Bay concentrate - will require about 1,500 people at peak.

First nickel is expected from the plant in 2014.

Vale will have about 500 long-term technician positions at the site when the plant moves into full operations, with local applicants promised the first look.

More than half of the positions have already been filled, but hires will continue to be added as needed until the plant is in full swing and the full contingent is reached.

On Twitter @TelegramDeana


Geographic location: Long Harbour

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Recent comments

  • Doug Rowe
    November 08, 2013 - 13:21

    If we can believe Craig, it is safe to assume that with the poisoning of the pond, the 'affluent' will be flowing out of Long Harbor, and heading for 'greener' pastures.!!!

    • craig
      November 08, 2013 - 14:09

      Doug.......since you obviously need things spelled out more clearly than the average person does................... the effluent *(typo corrected) will stay in the pond (supposedly) and kill whatever is in it and whatever ventures into it in the next 20 years. ADDITIONALLY, there will be more effluent flowing out of a 15 kilometer long pipeline that stretches out into Placentia Bay and killing whatever comes in contact with it. Got it Doug? Understand it now Doug? Or should I get my grade one son to explain it to you?

  • Brad
    November 08, 2013 - 12:52

    I hope everyone enjoyed their 3 years work. I hope it was worth it as the people of Long Harbour now have to put up with a lifetime of pollution. I hope everyone who worked there are really proud of building the biggest environmental disaster in Newfoundland. Nobody cares because they don't have to live there but if it happened in any other community there would be hell to pay.

    • a business man
      November 11, 2013 - 01:04

      Yes, I don;t live there, so I don't care. And I would be screaming the loudest if it was my community. But it is not, so I say nothing at all.

  • craig
    November 08, 2013 - 12:26

    This is truly a sad day for Long Harbour and Placentia Bay. This lay off marks the beginning of the poisioning of the pond near Long Harbour and it also means that the affluent, that needed a pipline to hide it by 400 feet of water 15 kilometers out into the bay, will soon be flowing out of sight out of mind.

  • Don
    November 08, 2013 - 10:50

    I don't think anyone expected to stay there forever.

    • Robert
      November 08, 2013 - 12:20

      Don! It is a funny thing for some people though! For the past 15 years I have worked so many projects and there are always a few who never see the end coming. I recall one guy who didn't know if he had enough gas to drive home despite having earned very fine pay by any standard!