The work is nearing completion on Westview Terminal, and the first ship to carry Pinnacle Resource pellets from Prince Rupert to overseas destination was set to arrive yesterday.
Pinnnacle chief operating officer Leroy Reitsma took the Northern View for a tour of the operation ahead of the first shipment, with pellets running through the site beginning last week.
The pellets are unloaded from the train cars at a rate of approximately five-and-a-half minutes per car, with the product being dumped from the underside of the car through a grate and into a series of covered conveyors that run beneath the tracks. The conveyor system includes heat sensing equipment that monitors the temperature of the pellets as they move and flooding mechanism that operators can trigger in the event of a concern around heat or fire.
The conveyors run to a central uptake that includes additional monitoring and suction filters that were added to address concerns around dust. Once at the top of the tower, the pellets are moved to one of the four silos.
Inside each of the silos is a deposit spout that run from the top of the structure right to the bottom. Along the length of the spout are holes that allow pellets to be easily deposited as the silos fill up. The base of the silos includes fans and aerated tubes to control the temperature of the pellets.
When it comes to loading the pellets onto the ship, the same covered conveyor system with filters runs out to what is essentially a large crane with its own suction filter to control dust. The pellets are then pushed through a hanging conical tube that deposits them into the hull of the waiting ship.
Reitsma, speaking over the sound of the conveyor without raising his voice, said he felt it was important to take extra steps to address concerns raised during the environmental assessment open houses.
“People had concerns about dust and about noise, and all I can say is we did everything we possibly could do to eliminate that,” he said.
“I think we will be shipping from here and people will be thinking ‘is it loading?’ because it will be impossible to tell.”