Thursday, November 28, 2013

WHERE DID THE FLOURSPAR MINE GO?

FROM THE PAGES OF HANSARD
NOV 27th, 203

MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Official Opposition.
MR. BALL: Mr. Speaker, on the eve of the 2011 election, the Premier presided over a ribbon cutting and a grand announcement of the reopening of the fluorspar mine in St. Lawrence. A $17 million repayable loan was made by the provincial government at the time to the owners of the fluorspar mine.
I ask the Premier: It has been two years since the announcement, will you tell the people of the Province how much of the $17 million has been spent to date, and why is the mine still not open?
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. HUTCHINGS: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, we were certainly very delighted to engage with the private sector in terms of the fluorspar mine and what it would mean to the Burin Peninsula. There was some along the way in terms of cost. There was a re-evaluation done of the cost because of escalating – in terms of the infrastructure that is put in to date, I will get the exact number. My understanding there is about $300,000 related to engineering and design. There have been further discussions with IBRD and with the owner operators of the facility.
We are looking forward to this year, all intentions getting started on the project. We are looking forward to what it is going to mean to the Burin Peninsula. I am quite happy to be a partner in the project, Mr. Speaker.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Official Opposition.
MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
The minister was right, this year they went through re-scoping the project because of the cost overruns. The construction phase was scheduled to start this past summer with employment of over 370 workers at the site of the mine in St. Lawrence.
I ask the Premier: Has the government received an update on the new plans of the mine? When can residents of the Burin Peninsula expect to see jobs from this project?


MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I want to thank the member for raising that subject here today. That is one of the investments that this government has made in rural Newfoundland and Labrador that we have been criticized for across the way on a number of occasions.
I say to the member opposite, we have received regular updates from the company. I met with the company as late as five or six days ago and they are on track. They are moving forward. They did have some delays, as my colleague, the Minister of Fisheries, just mentioned.
With respect to the $17 million loan commitment, it is my understanding that no money from that $17 million has been drawn down. There has been some funding from other sources that has been used in that project, but the $17 million, I think, was directed specifically to the wharf project.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Leader of the Official Opposition.
MR. BALL: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Well, we have heard one minister talk about $300,000; we have heard a second minister say nothing.
Can we just get some clarification on if it is $300,000 or no money at all that has been advanced from the $17 million?
MR. SPEAKER: The hon. the Minister of Justice.
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear!
MR. KING: Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Again, it is a pleasure to rise and talk about the mine in St. Lawrence because it is something this government is very proud to support. As we do with other projects, we stand in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and we invest because we believe in the people and the future of rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
I would also say if you check Hansard I think I was very clear. I said zero of the $17 million has been drawn down because it is targeted toward the wharf project. There are other sources of funding from Natural Resources and other departments where the company has availed of to move the project forward. The $17 million was targeted specifically to that particular project.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is an emerging trend in projects in Newfoundland and Labrador. That is a rapidly rising cost base, driven by labour cost which is out of control. When are people in this province going to realise that Muskrat Falls is driving up cost for all legitamate projects, and in this case actually impeding growth in rural areas. The biggest singular issue I have with Muskrat Falls is not the project, but the schedule. Why is the government completing a public works project now. They are driving up costs for all other projects, and in the long term will make us non-competitve. Muskrat Falls could have been a strategic project completed following the Hebron and Husky concrete gravity structures. Doing Muskrat now is Dunderdales, and Nalcors greatest mistake. The collapse of our economy in 2016/2107 when all of these projects are over, will be spectacular. A strategic delay of 3-4 years on Muskrat would have mitigated it.