Nfld. & Labrador

Muskrat Falls employment set to ramp up in spring

The number of Labradorians working at the Muskrat Falls site during its construction phase has decreased, although hiring is expected to pick up soon.
Some contrsuction at the Muskrat Falls site is set to finish in 2016, when the river is diverted. (CBC)

The number of Labradorians working at the Muskrat Falls hydroelectrical megaproject during its construction phase slumped during the winter, but has increased to around 42 per cent.

Gilbert Bennett said the number of Labradorians employed in Labrador dropped in January since peaking at nearly 42 per cent in October.

Gilbert Bennett, Nalcor's vice-president in charge of the project, says there will be more Labrador employees hired at the site once more construction picks up. (CBC)
But he said the Crown corporation expects that to start climbing again once Astaldi, the main civil contractor on the project, starts work in the spring.

Crews have finished excavating and levelling the site for the powerhouse and spillway, and Italian company Astaldi is preparing the site for the major concrete work.

"They'll have significant requirements with their workforce later this year — they'll have 1,000 people as part of their work," Bennett said.

"The transmission line construction is going to ramp up this year, the reservoir right of way clearing will continue, so when we look across all those activities, we'll see a fairly dramatic increase in workforce requirements over the course of the year."
Construction work on the Muskrat Falls site isn't completed yet, but Gilbert Bennett says the company is on schedule. (CBC)

Bennett said there will be a push to get more people in Labrador trained and qualified for jobs at the Muskrat Falls site.

"The Labrador Aboriginal Training Partnership is focused on training programs that can get people on to the site fairly quickly, so we're running courses for truck drivers, concrete form work, rebar, as well as for transmission assembly," he said.

According to Bennett, Nalcor is on track for construction dates.

"Generally speaking, we're where we expected to be by year end. The mass excavation was complete, the camp is ready for a new contractor, the site is ready … the environmental assessment is complete for the transmission line, and the material is here," he said.

Some of the work for the Muskrat Falls project is set to wrap up in 2016, when the river is diverted.

According to numbers released Wednesday morning, around 415 Labradorians are working in Labrador of the 985 employed at the site.