Authorised in January 2021, the modernisation project of the wharves and alumina unloading process (the MQDA project or Modernisation des quais et du déchargement d’alumine), is progressing on schedule. Part of the $105 million invested in this project will be allocated to extensive work on the Duncan and Powell wharves, which will make the wharves better adapted to the size of today’s vessels, increase employee safety and make raw material receiving and unloading operations at the port facilities more efficient.
If the work continues at this pace, it will be completed by the end of 2022, as planned. “We are very pleased with the progress,” said Nathalie Desmeules, Project Manager. “In March of this year, the worksite launched, and the first contractors began working. We also prepared the site used for the contractors’ equipment and offices, on the former property of Consolidated Bathurst. The site preparation phase is almost complete.”
In parallel, the task of demolishing 80% of the old warehouse on the Powell Wharf was completed. The cleared area will receive equipment for unloading alumina, complementing the existing caustic unloading station.
The work is regulated by a series of government authorisations that govern the conditions for carrying out the work, particularly with respect to environmental impact.
“For example, we need to respect commitments regarding the time of year when we can carry out certain work,” Desmeules explained. “We also need to comply with noise restrictions. In addition, we have regular discussions with La Baie Good Neighbourly Relations Committee and have created a sub-committee to ensure community satisfaction.”
Desmeules added, “Overall, this project is well received in the community. The new equipment will be much more efficient, particularly with regard to dust emissions. This is clearly good news for the neighbourhood.”
During peak periods, approximately 100 workers from various construction trades are busy bringing the MQDA project closer to completion.