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U.S. Steel delivers steel for Randle Reef cleanup

The embattled company may be going through a bitter court battle that has steelworkers and pensioners crying foul, but U.S. Steel has managed to deliver the steel it promised to contribute to cleanup efforts for Randle Reef.

The entire project is slated to cost $138.9 million

Crews have started a test project as a prelude to building a containment facility for Randle Reef. Containment facilities are common in areas such as landfill sites, but less common underwater, experts say. (Environment Canada)

The embattled company may be going through a bitter court battle that has steelworkers and pensioners crying foul, but U.S. Steel has managed to deliver the steel it promised to contribute to cleanup efforts for Randle Reef.

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger told CBC News that the company has contributed $12-million worth of steel to the federal government to be used as part of a plan to cap one of the country's worst environmental blights.

"Their substantial contribution has been delivered," Eisenberger said. "Now it's in the hands of public works Canada."

Some in Hamilton had worried that contribution to the project could have been in jeopardy, after a bankruptcy court judge approved a transition plan earlier this month that will sever U.S. Steel Canada from its U.S. parent and allowed the company to suspend health-care benefits for tens of thousands of retirees.

The city is still investigating whether or not an outstanding $2-million cash payment has been made or not. City staffers are checking on that right now, Eisenberger said.

"Work is actually happening," he said. "We're in progress, and that's good news for everyone."

Randle Reef cleanup contracts were awarded this summer after years of planning and negotiation from a group of partners including neighbouring municipalities, the federal and provincial governments and U.S. Steel, all of whom came up with a plan to "cap" the site – essentially building a box around it and turning it into an extension of the pier that could then be used as land for industry — and agreed to jointly contribute to funding it.

The entire project is slated to cost $138.9 million. Both Hamilton and Burlington have kicked in the first installment payments for the project, Eisenberger said.

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