Surprised by pellet announcement

Last Monday I attended my first council meeting in quite some time, with Monica diligently filling the role for about the past year, and what a welcome back it was.

Last Monday I attended my first council meeting in quite some time, with Monica diligently filling the role for about the past year, and what a welcome back it was.

I was looking over the agenda package before the meeting and saw a presentation about a pellet facility and figured it would be interesting to see what is on the horizon. I’ll admit I certainly didn’t see essentially the announcement of a $30 million, 60,000 tonne pellet export facility along the waterfront being in the cards – but was pleasantly surprised to hear about it. Usually with these types of projects there is significant forewarning in the way of public meetings, environmental assessments, comment periods and so on (think of NaiKun, Canpotex and even the seemingly ill-fated Mount Hays Windfarm). This one really came out of the blue.

And after the presenters finished it was clear they had done their homework and thoroughly planned out the project so I was left with basically one question: What’s the time frame looking like for this project? It was a question I though evident but was pretty much the last question asked. My befuddlement grew more when the presenter stated there was no reason they couldn’t start building in 2012.

While I’m a bit skeptical about that time frame, particularly since it is September and there is no agreement in place with the Prince Rupert Port Authority, news of this facility is obviously great news for Prince Rupert. It’s a project that doesn’t rely on a government contract or the development of a market for a resource, it’s a matter of getting more the existing capacity to Asia quicker than it currently is.

I’m certain we haven’t heard the last of this project heading into the winter of 2011, and I can see it being one of the big news stories for Prince Rupert when 2012 rolls around.