By Shaun Thomas, The Northern View, November 28, 2011
Students from Charles Hays, community leaders and members of the media were invited to Ridley Terminals on November 28 to see progress on the terminal expansion, and afterwards chair Bud Smith said the work doesn’t necessarily end when this current project is done.
“We’ll be keep going after 2014 and are looking at additional work. As long as people are needing the capacity and paying for it, we’ll keep expanding,” he said, noting that a possible second berth for the facility has been considered.
“We have an option for waterfront for a second berth that we can exercise at any time. We’re also negotiating with the Prince Rupert Port Authority for additional storage and we have begun to take non-refundable deposits for capacity from mining companies. Once we get enough deposits, we will look to expand further.”
The current expansion is proceeding as planned, with two new dumpers on the site that will be installed in the coming days. The new dumpers are compatible with both aluminum and steel cars, so there will no longer be the need to take the trains apart before dumping, and will be able to hand 60 cars per hour. As well, the 35 additional acres have been cleared of muskeg and trial fill has been put down to allow geo-technical engineers to determine what is best for the site.
As well as adding a third and eventually a fourth stacker reclaimer, plans for the expansion include a second dumping operation in 2014 to allow the terminal to handle two trains at a time. This is in addition to adding additional rail lines, adding and extending the conveyor system and civil work on the site.
According to Smith, the catalyst for the whole project truly was the decision by the government to allow the terminal to operate in a commercial manner.
“We were able to get more contracts and get all but one of our current customers into long-term, minimal volume guarantee contracts, and that gave us the revenue to support the decision to spend approximately $200 million on this expansion,” he said.
“This will add about 20 to 25 jobs at the terminal, and we’ve already gone from 60 employees to over 100. The result will be not only more taxes to the City of Prince Rupert and the District of Port Edward, but spin-off work and a lot of spin-off benefits.”
Once complete the terminal will be able to handle 24 million tonnes as opposed to the current 12 million.