Contractors hired to build Long Harbour camp

Temporary camp will house up to 1,000 construction workers

Moira Baird mbaird@thetelegram.com
Published on March 31, 2010

A Norwegian company that builds accommodations camps for the oil and gas industry landed a $52-million contract this month to build the construction camp for Vale Inco's nickel-processing plant in Long Harbour.

It's a sub-contract to ESS Support Services/Compass Group Canada, a food service company with worldwide operations and the lead contractor for the temporary construction camp project.

A Norwegian company that builds accommodations camps for the oil and gas industry landed a $52-million contract this month to build the construction camp for Vale Inco's nickel-processing plant in Long Harbour.

It's a sub-contract to ESS Support Services/Compass Group Canada, a food service company with worldwide operations and the lead contractor for the temporary construction camp project.

Stavanger-based Malthus AS will build the living quarters in Norway for ESS/Compass and ship the units to Long Harbour.

The first batch will arrive this summer and is expected to house about 250 workers by August. The rest of the camp will be completed and ready for workers by the first quarter of 2011.

"It will have the capacity to house and feed up to 1,000 people," said Bob Carter, spokesman for Vale Inco Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Once the installation is complete, then the prime contractor, ESS, will be operating the facility until the end of construction."

Once the nickel processing plant is built by February 2013, Carter said, the camp and its accommodations units will be removed from the site.

He said the camp will be similar to those used in oilsands projects in Alberta.

"It's going to be a first-class facility that is comparable to any of the construction camps that are found currently operating in sites in Western Canada, which is a pretty high standard."

Under its three-year contract, ESS/Compass will operate the camp.

Jobs

The company expects to hire up to 115 people to provide food, janitorial, housekeeping, maintenance and laundry services at the temporary camp.

"ESS will provide food and support services to the employees hired by Vale Inco to build the nickel-processing plant," said Cindy Harris, the company's senior communications adviser.

"Malthus is a sub-contractor."

Harris said Malthus will also hire 25 people to work at the site and buy and rent local equipment. The Norwegian company will start installing housing units at the Long Harbour site by June.

To date, Carter said, about 55 per cent of the roughly $500 million in contracts has gone to Newfoundland companies. He also said Vale Inco does not disclose the value of its commercial contracts.

Compass isn't saying how much the contract is worth, either.

Industry insiders peg its value - both building and operating the camp - at a little more than $100 million.

Malthus disclosed its $52-million share of that contract in a March 15 news release.

"The contract will have a high impact on Norwegian subcontractors and promote Norwegian export," the release read.

One of those sub-contractors is Moelven Group, which will build the living quarters modules.

"Moelven shall produce the modules that will be shipped to Canada from Norway," read the Malthus release. "As a consequence all workers that have been laid off at Moelven will get their jobs back."

Malthus Canada Ltd. opened its office in St. John's last spring and expects to branch out into Calgary to compete for upcoming oilsands contracts.

ESS has more than 500 employees in the province, providing food or housekeeping services to the St. John's Airport, K-12 schools, hospitals and the provincial government.

On its website, ESS says it serves four billion meals a year and employs 386,000 people around the world.

It's part of Compass Group Canada, whose subsidiaries include Chartwells, Morrison and Crothall.

Vale Inco has also awarded a contract for the Long Harbour project office to Kent Homes of the J.D. Irving Group.

It will supply and install temporary offices, lunch facilities, a security trailer and gates. The buildings will be constructed in New Brunswick.

mbaird@thetelegram.com