February 23rd, 2019 – Sherritt’s Fort Saskatchewan refinery produced its three billionth pound of Class I nickel – a major milestone for the company since operations began in 1954. To celebrate this accomplishment, the company hosted a barbeque at the site on May 2nd for its workers along with some key stakeholders, including the Northeast Capital Industrial Association (NCIA), the Northeast Region Community Awareness Emergency Response (NRCAER), the Alberta Industrial Heartland Association (AIHA), the Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society and the Mayor of Fort Saskatchewan, Gayle Katchur.
The Fort Saskatchewan refinery initially processed feed from Sherritt’s Lynn Lake mine in Manitoba. Today, the Fort Saskatchewan refinery processes mixed sulphides produced in Cuba through the Moa Joint Venture, which was created in 1994 and in which Sherritt maintains a 50% partnership interest, to produce Class I nickel in briquette and powder forms. Class 1 nickel is the purest form of nickel and is particularly suited for applications, such as electric vehicle batteries, that require high purity levels.
Tim Dobson, Senior Vice President of Metals opened the ceremony by honoring “the diverse western Indigenous and Métis people whose ancestors called these regional areas home since time immemorial.”
Reflecting on the refinery operations Mr. Dobson said “the milestone shows the resilience and tenacity of Sherritt and its workers to continue an operation and keep it economically viable for 65 years.”
Vivian Rodriguez, CEO of Corefco, Sherritt’s Cuban Joint Venture partner, offered her heartfelt appreciation and spoke about the strong relationship between the two companies, recognizing employees for being the “protagonists of a beautiful story.”
Additionally, she acknowledged employees for their “effort, dedication, intelligence and applied knowledge of each process which has allowed the operation to remain one of the most efficient producers of nickel and cobalt in the world.”
Steve Wood, Chief Operating Officer of Sherritt International Corporation said, “over the last 65 years, the people of this site have gone through many transformations, adjusting to the realities of the day, building a stronger business each time. That resilience has been this operation’s strength and will serve it well as it pursues the next three billion pounds.”
Gale Katchur, the Mayor of Fort Saskatchewan, congratulated Sherritt on its accomplishment, mentioning that Sherritt was the first company to come to the area. This move attracted other companies and has led the way to what is known today as the Industrial Heartland. She congratulated Sherritt stating, “they are truly making a difference in our community, the region and the world!” Sherritt’s operation depends on this strong partnership which helps to employ 750 people in the Fort Saskatchewan community and surrounding areas.
Tim Dobson presented a cheque for $10,000 to Kassandra Gartner, president of the Fort Saskatchewan Food Gatherers Society, which was chosen by its employees through a survey conducted across the site. To conclude the ceremony, Ray Gingras, a Sherritt employee for 43 years, and Dave Hanasyk, a Sherritt employee for 45 years, cut the ceremonial cake.