(Carleton) The Quebec government places the megaproject Cement McInnis under the supervision of experts and imposes strict conditions after the revelation of a new overrun of $ 444 million cost to bring the cement plant construction cost 1 , $ 55 billion.
Quebec’s Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, Dominique Anglade, is “not happy at all” of the situation current at Port-Daniel in the Gaspé status it attributes particular to engineering problems between what was originally planned the site and the way in which the construction has developed.
The plant, under construction since May 2014, was to cost $ 1.1 billion. It will produce 2.2 million tons of cement annually, a production that will be mostly exported by ship.
The minister learned in late May that cost overruns. She said her commitment therefore to investigate “now” on the causes of this overrun “huge” and publicly report. However, it is a Globe and Mail revealed this over Tuesday night.
Surveillance under which is placed Cement McInnis’ rest of the [field] private. We did not physically someone locally, “said Minister Anglade. The Caisse de depot et placement and Investissement Québec, two donors of the project had their say on the expert or experts who follow the evolution of the site in the coming months.
The trust between Cement McInnis one hand, the Quebec government, Investissement Québec and the Caisse de depot et placement on the other hand, is still good enough for the assessment of the cost overrun, “precisely $ 444 million “noted the minister,” comes from the company. ”
Dominique Anglade said that in the investigations of May, “we established a process that will ensure the profitability of the project term and […] that the government does not have to pay more.”
Controversy in 2013
The project has been controversial from 2013 because Investissement Quebec, with a loan of $ 250 million and a contribution of $ 100 million in equity, and the Caisse de dépôt et placement, with a sum of $ 100 million in fairness, have thus injected a total of $ 450 million in surplus production environment for other Quebec cement.
Project profitability remains ensures minister, “because of the low Canadian dollar and the resumption of construction in the United States.” It concedes that these are two cyclical factors, but seem “supported.”
The achievement of the cement plant is another factor fueling the confidence of Mrs Anglade. “We have reached 75% completion of the project [but] there must be changes at management level.”
The Minister requires weekly reports on vendor payments, payment of workers, who are currently 800 on the site, and on the progress of work.
“We will look at the way in which the government will do its investments,” also said Ms. Anglade, speaking disbursements representing contributions from Investissement Quebec. “This project placed sousn’est not grant a block. It happens at the end of the project especially not at first. ”
The company speaks rather of “fiscal adjustments”
The spokesman Cement McInnis, Maryse Tremblay speaks first “fiscal adjustments, no cost overruns” to explain the increase of $ 450 million, a figure that does not confirm, affecting the construction of the cement Port-Daniel.
“It was different technological choices. the port facilities were enhanced, more flexible, more efficient equipment for unloading and loading additives cement, “she said.
Changes have also been made to cement distribution network, “in choosing to build terminals in the United States […] It also brings greater value to the project […] We maintain the production start for March or April 2017 “.
It concedes that there have been changes in construction costs between 2012 and now, as the project is specified. “As a new business, it happens [an underestimation of the costs], but we deal with it.”
Among these underestimated costs, there is “the Extremely binding environmental commitments to which we subscribed and unforeseen factors such as the pursuit of Lafarge,” she said about the competitor who tried to submit the draft cement McInnis in the review of public hearings on the environmental Bureau.
Revived painful memory
In the MRC du Rocher-Percé, the announcement of cost overrun of 40.9% has revived painful memories of the judgment in January 2004 of the modernization Gaspesia stationery Chandler site, 30 kilometers from Port-Daniel . Reeve Nadia Minassian puts things in perspective.
“As elected, it is never new we want to hear. When we go further, we see that there have never been so many workers on site, and there have never been so many trucks on the construction site. We did not at all the same project. The situation is completely different and the context is different. It was an investment in which a major part of private funds has been injected, “Ms. Minassian.
1981: First Measures limestone deposit of Port-Daniel.
1995 Cimbec Canada, led by businessman Guy Rousseau, presents a cement project of $ 350 million.
1998 Levelling work and preparation of the pile wharf are initiated, but the project stalled.
2012: In janvie, Beaudier, the conglomerate families Beaudoin and Bombardier announced the project takeover Cimbec Canada. The draft which then is called Deposit McInnis is valued at $ 800 million.
2014: In May, the beginning of construction of the cement plant. Between December 2012 and now, the cost gradually increases to $ 1 billion, to $ 1.055 billion to $ 1.1 billion and now to $ 1.55 billion. Cement McInnis and its subcontractors will create 153 jobs.