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Moose Cree-OPG partnership completes second hydro station

Friday July 25, 2014

A second Lower Mattagami generating station has gone on stream for the Moose Cree First Nation-Ontario Power Generation hydro-power development partnership.

“The completion of the new generating unit at Harmon hydroelectric station is a testimony to the power of partnership,” said Moose Cree Chief Norm Hardisty Jr. “Through this project we are building skills, creating opportunity and facilitating economic growth across northern Ontario – especially among First Nation and Métis peoples, many of whom have participated in this project and gained significant capabilities and expertise as a result.”

The new 78 MW unit at the Harmon Generating Station was completed ahead of schedule and on budget. Along with the recently completed Little Long station, the partnership has added 145 MW of hydropower to Ontario’s supply.

Moose Cree First Nation has a 25 per cent equity interest in the project, which is located about 80 kilometres north of Kapuskasing.

“As a public power company, OPG is committed to serving Ontario,” said Tom Mitchell, OPG’s CEO. “This includes managing and delivering our projects at high levels of professionalism and excellence. Safely completing the Harmon Generating Station, on time and on budget demonstrates that OPG and our partners, the Moose Cree First Nation, are meeting this goal.”

When the project is completed in 2015, the capacity of the Lower Mattagami power plants will have increased from 486 MW to 924 MW. A 78 MW unit is being added at the Kipling hydroelectric station and a new 267 MW station is being built at Smoky Falls to replace the existing 52 MW station that will be retired once the new station is operating.

“As owners of the generating stations, we are now starting to get some revenue from the generating stations,” Hardisty said. “The revenue that we generate of course will go back to the community and it will help us with the services that we provide. It will also help us with economic opportunities.”

Hardisty said the project is about worth about $2.6 billion.

“It’s the biggest project ever in northeastern Ontario in 40 years or so,” Hardisty said. “It’s really exciting — it’s too bad the construction was only five years, but definitely we will still benefit going forward.”

About 1,600 people worked on the project at its peak, including 250 First Nation and Metis people.

“It wasn’t just labour jobs, we got a few (First Nations) people that were in supervisory roles,” Hardisty said, noting that subcontractors in the community also earned contracts during the project through joint ventures with other companies. “We actually had about $300 million in contracts that we were able to achieve.”

Hardisty is looking for two Moose Cree community members, who were trained as crane operators during the project, to transition to other projects.

“They can transition to mining,” Hardisty said. “There are a lot of jobs, especially with construction.”

Hardisty said the community also has many journeymen who worked at the project.

“We have a lot of certified people in certain trades,” Hardisty said. “They can now transition to other jobs. A lot of them also have been unionized, which is good because (they can now work) anywhere in Canada, even in the (United) States.”

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