Nalcor releases Muskrat Falls’ November numbers

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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No confirmation on whether project is, or is not, over budget

Construction on the province’s $7.7-billion hydroelectric project at Muskrat Falls rolled along in November 2013 — according to the latest numbers released by Nalcor Energy — bringing bulk excavation work close to an end, continuing tree clearing and establishing a starting point for drilling the power link between Newfoundland and Labrador.

Vice-president of Nalcor Energy's Lower Churchill project Gilbert Bennett (right) discusses the proposed transmission link with a local resident at an open house in this TC Media file photo.

Nalcor Energy has reported $230 million spent on project work between January and the end of November 2013, but there is no benchmark to indicate if that number is on target with predicted costs.

Project leaders have so far refused to state whether or not the construction mega-project is experiencing overall cost overruns.

The latest monthly report shows 1,667 people working on the project in November. Of that total, 81 per cent – 1,352 people — were reported as Newfoundland and Labrador residents. The count includes all aspects of the project work, from offices in St. John’s to heavy machine operators on the ground in Labrador.

Focusing in on just the count for Labrador, in the second-last month of 2013 there were 1,079 people working on the project there. Of that total, 435 people were counted as Labrador residents.

The total count on employment for members of aboriginal groups active in Labrador did not increase between October and November.

There was $88 million spent in the month, with about $15 million paid out to Labrador companies. Newfoundland and Labrador companies received 47 per cent of the money spent for project work and supplies — about $41 million.

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Recent comments

  • Seal Club
    January 16, 2014 - 12:53

    The fact that there is no benchmark to compare the original cost estimate to the actual spending may be revealing to the project's current performance. The public deserves to know if there are cost overruns -- they are the ones who will ultimately pay for these overruns.

  • Tony Rockel
    January 16, 2014 - 11:59

    Well, you can be sure that if the project was anywhere near on-budget, they'd be shouting it from the rooftops.

  • Concerned
    January 16, 2014 - 11:43

    I am not sure how Nalcor can justify 16 months of silence on the updated budget. They have (or at least should) an updated completed on a monthly basis. The earned value to date is used to help forecast the final cost. Their silence is incriminating in itself.