Cianbro contract to bring more than 100 new jobs to Brewer

Posted Sept. 08, 2010, at 9:44 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — Cianbro officials are announcing that the company has won a contract to construct 22 building modules at its Eastern Manufacturing Facility for a Newfoundland facility, which means hundreds of jobs for local workers.

“We are very proud to have been selected to manufacture the electric room modules” for a Vale nickel processing operation, Cianbro Chairman and CEO Peter Vigue said Wednesday evening.

Vale is a Brazilian-based company that has mining operations all over the globe, Vigue said.

“They’re a very substantial company — a very successful company,” Vigue said. “They’ve been at it a long while.”

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The project, which is scheduled to be in full swing by November, will employ “in excess of 100” people, Vigue said, adding, “we’re giving you the minimum [projections], not the maximum.”

The electrical rooms will be installed at a plant that Vale is constructing in Long Harbour, Newfoundland. The rooms will be one, two and three stories tall and weigh up to 600 tons each.

The structures, which will include switch gears and major electrical components, will be loaded onto barges and then shipped down the Penobscot River and along the coast to Long Harbour.

“A cross-section of folks” will be needed to do the work, Vigue said. In addition to engineering, “there is a strong electrical component, there is a strong construction component,” he said.

Cianbro is in the middle of a project at Sappi paper mill in Skowhegan that will finish around the time workers are needed in Brewer, Vigue said.

“That works out well,” he said.

Cianbro engineers have designed the structures and company officials have spent the last couple of months working out details and ordering the needed supplies.

Cianbro Vice President Joe Cote, who is the Eastern Manufacturing Facility general manager, said the modules are needed for one phase of a multiphase construction project.

“We see other opportunities up there,” he said.

Vigue added, “We expect we will have additional work and will expand operations here in the coming months.”

Cianbro officials have been talking with Newfoundland and Vale officials for about two years, Vigue said.

“We’re very, very impressed with what we see, and we’re very excited about the opportunity to work with them,” he said.

With a limited number of module construction jobs available, Vigue said he’s extremely proud that Pittsfield-based Cianbro won this project. He said the contract reflects well on the state of Maine, city of Brewer and employees of the company.

“There is a lot to celebrate,” he said. “It’s a very significant project. We’re elated for our people and the community.”

Cote ended by saying there were skeptics when Cianbro decided in late 2007 to change the rundown Eastern Fine Paper Co. mill into a facility to construct modules. With one successful contract for 52 refinery modules completed in April and another major project on the horizon, those doubters no longer have anything to say, he said.

The best news is that the plant, which transferred and laid off employees in April, soon will see some of those faces back at work in South Brewer.

“Our goal is to have the parking lot filled with employee cars,” Cote said.

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