Friday, March 1, 2024

Vulcan Materials restarts Black Point Quarry project

Site prep for multimillion-dollar project could begin in 18 months

  • November 1 2023
  • By Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter    

CANSO — After a five-year pause, Vulcan Materials will restart its Black Point aggregate quarry project near Canso, with site preparations to start as soon as mid-2025, The Journal has learned.

“We are thrilled to continue work... [with] a directional time goal of 18 months to begin developing the 354-hectare property on the south shore of Chedabucto Bay,” said Atisthan Roach – the Alabama-based construction supplier’s manager of community and government relations – in an Oct. 27 email to the newspaper.

While noting that, “We hesitate to offer a specific time goal because much work needs to be done before we can put the first shovel in the ground,” she added that last week, “The team visited with stakeholders and rights-holders, including those in the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG).”

In an email to The Journal, MODG Warden Vernon Pitts said, “For it to be confirmed that Vulcan is entering the execution phase of the project is simply fantastic news... More than 16 years ago, the municipality carried out an exploration program together with a drilling program to prove that there was an attractive aggregate resource at Black Point... More than nine years ago, we inked a deal for Vulcan Materials to develop the resource. As the saying goes, good things come to those who wait.”

The project, which commenced in 2014, received initial environmental approval from the province in 2016. But, two years later, Frank Leith – vice-president of Vulcan subsidiary, Black Point Aggregates (BPA) Inc. – said in a statement: “The target market conditions for crushed stone from the Black Point location are still short of our original expectations... We are not going anywhere – we remain very much committed to the community, stakeholders, and agreements made.”

Since then, Vulcan has received regular two-year extensions from the provincial government for the project, the most recent of which – published as a project update on the Department of Environment and Climate Change’s website – stipulates that the company “must, on or before April 26, 2024, commence work... the unless granted written extension by the minister.”

In her email, Roach said, “Everyone wants to know when we will break ground... First, we need to perfect our permit requirements in order to receive permission to break ground...We are moving forward on completing multiple monitoring plans and commitments in the approved environmental assessment...There is a lot to get done.”

According to the Black Point Quarry website, the project calls for processed aggregate to be “off-loaded onto Panamax size bulk carriers and transported to ports along the Eastern and Gulf Coast of the United States and potentially to markets in Canada and the Caribbean. The [quarry’s] site... proximity to deep water... sheltered and ice-free... is ideally suited... The project is anticipated to have capital costs on the order of $80-110 million and will be a significant employer in Guysborough County throughout the expected 50+ year lifespan of the quarry.”

The project will include construction and operation of a 200-metre-long marine terminal and load-out facility adjacent to the quarry in Chedabucto Bay.Once operational, the quarry itself is expected to create 50 jobs.

Said Pitts: “There will great-paying jobs during construction and during operations...Vulcan has the financial wherewithal to get this project done in a timely fashion, and more so. They have a stellar reputation for the work they do with community partners.”

According to Vulcan’s website, the company is the largest producer of construction aggregates – primarily crushed stone, sand and gravel – and a major producer of aggregates-based construction materials, including asphalt and ready-mixed concrete in the United States.