Hatch celebrates the unveiling of tl’ughus with Rio Tinto and First Nations communities
British Columbia, Canada—Rio Tinto, together with the Haisla First Nation and the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, have reached a key milestone in the development of the C$600-M Kemano Second Tunnel (T2) project with the unveiling of tl’ughus, the tunnel boring machine (TBM) that will be used to dig the 16 km-long second tunnel. The T2 project will ensure the long-term reliability of renewable power to the BC Works aluminium smelter in Kitimat, British Columbia. Hatch has been selected by Rio Tinto to provide the engineering, project, and construction management (EPCM) services for the project.
Rio Tinto has involved the Haisla First Nation and the Cheslatta Carrier Nation and to ensure that indigenous cultures and traditions are respected. The Cheslatta Carrier Nation selected the name for the TBM—tl’ughus—after the legend of the giant monster snake that bored through the mountains, a story that shares many parallels with the Kemano T2 project. Students from the Haisla First Nation participated in a contest to the design the artwork on the cutterhead of the TBM.
Rio Tinto Aluminium managing director Atlantic Operations Gervais Jacques said, “Unveiling tl’ughus in partnership with the Haisla First Nation and the Cheslatta Carrier Nation is an important milestone for our world-class aluminium operations in British Columbia. Our smelter in Kitimat produces some of the world’s lowest carbon aluminium and this project will enhance the long-term security of its supply of clean, renewable hydropower.”
The fully assembled tl’ughus, 190 m in length and weighing 1,300 t, wastransported from Germany where it was designed and built. It will excavate 250,000 m3 of rock to build 7.6 km of new tunnel. Expected to be complete in 2020, the T2 project includes the excavation of the new tunnel and the refurbishment of an 8.4 km portion of the second tunnel that remains from the mid-1990s. Construction of the second tunnel will ensure the long-term reliability of the power supply to the Kitimat smelter from the Kemano powerhouse by creating a backup to the original tunnel.
Steven Hinton, project manager for Hatch, attended the ceremony to help mark this milestone. He said, “We are very proud to support Rio Tinto on their journey to long-term, sustainable operations. Rio Tinto is committed to preserving the environment and engaging with the local community to maintain a clean and reliable power supply for the Kitimat smelter, and this aligns with our vision of creating a better world through positive change.”
Read more about the Kemano T2 project here.
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