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Agency Begins Contract Talks With Engineering Firm

first_imgThe Sydney Tar Ponds Agency will begin contract talks next week with the engineering firm Earth Tech, the leading bidder in the competition to provide design services for the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup. If the discussions are successful, Earth Tech, an international firm, and its local partner, CBCL Ltd., will carry out the detailed engineering for the cleanup, and supervise construction during the eight-year project. “At about $30 million, this will be one of the largest contracts awarded during the cleanup,” said Frank Potter, the agency’s acting chief executive officer. “Construction work on the cleanup will be divided into several projects to make it easier for local firms to take part.” Earth Tech, which recently completed the preliminary engineering design for the cleanup, is one of three bidders in the tender competition. The others are AMEC, which partnered with Golder and Associates; and TARget Engineering, a consortium of Halifax-based Jacques Whitford, SNC-Lavalin, ADI Ltd., and ENSR. Evaluators ranked Earth Tech first in technical merit and local economic benefits, and a close second in price. Technical merit accounted for 75 per cent of the evaluation score, local economic benefits 15 per cent, and price 10 per cent. The bid price may be adjusted to reflect possible changes in the scope of the cleanup project when the provincial and federal governments respond to the report of the environmental review panel that was issued in July. If discussions with Earth Tech are unsuccessful, the agency retains the right to open talks with one of the other two bidders. The three companies were invited to bid after a preliminary evaluation of expressions of interest from major engineering firms. Cleanup work in the Tar Ponds is expected to begin next year. Numerous preliminary cleanup projects, including the capping of a dump, the removal of buildings and debris, and the construction of an interceptor sewer to divert sewage from the Tar Ponds to a treatment plant, have already been completed. Work is wrapping up on the construction of a barrier between the Tar Ponds and Sydney Harbour, and the diversion of Coke Ovens Brook to clean channels is on schedule for completion this fall.last_img read more

Sri Lanka will accept refueling visits by Chinas navy

Sri Lankan-Chinese trade more than tripled since 2010 to about $5 billion last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Trade with India doubled to $6 billion, with most of that increase coming under Wickremesinghe’s watch. Sri Lanka and India in September also pledged to bolster security in South Asia and their maritime region. “There is no phobia,” Wickremesinghe, 67, said in an interview in Singapore. “Basically, any agreement with China will be to accommodate everyone in investments, any agreements with India will accommodate everyone. And any agreements with Singapore or Japan will be that way. We have no problem with all our friends.” China, alongside countries such as Japan, India and Singapore, is seeking investment in Sri Lanka as that country’s economy emerges from a decades-long civil war, and given its geopolitical significance as an Indian Ocean gateway. Sri Lanka sits 64 kilometers (40 miles) from India’s coastline along a busy shipping route in which tankers carry oil from the Middle East to Asia. Issues with the port city development in Colombo have been “ironed out,” he said, with a task force preparing legislation on the project. Also, Chinese companies will be cooperating in public-private partnerships on harbor and airport developments in the southern city of Hambantota, with a liquid-natural-gas plant and refinery also set to be provided by Chinese investors.The goal, the prime minister said, is to make Sri Lanka “the hub” of the Indian Ocean for a revived Maritime Silk Road trading route to Europe. Chinese President Xi Jinping has touted the concept as part of his “One Belt, One Road” trade-and-infrastructure initiative, as he seeks to project China as a revitalized global power with a strong navy.“We will take whatever investment comes in,” said Wickremesinghe, who has been prime minister twice before and a lawmaker since 1977. “It is going to be mostly from East Asia,” he said. “We need the investment, we need the growth, we need the economic transformation.” The Government says it will accept refueling visits by China’s navy as long as they follow the proper procedures.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Bloomberg Sri Lanka is agnostic about what countries it accepts foreign investment from, including China. Wickremesinghe said the country had hosted warships from many nations, but had a close engagement with India on security matters. Those security ties have raised the risk of tensions in the region with China on a military level, as India watches warily the expansion of Xi’s navy.China showed its growing naval prowess when it deployed a nuclear-powered submarine to patrol the Indian Ocean for the first time in 2014, while a diesel-powered one docked twice in Sri Lanka. The visits fueled doubts that China’s strategy of building ports in the Indian Ocean was purely economic.Still, Wickremesinghe said the country would potentially accept refueling visits by China’s navy. “Whether it is Chinese, American or anyone, as long as they follow the proper procedures and we keep our special engagement with India, there is no problem,” he said. Chinese-funded projects include a $1.4 billion plan to build a city roughly the size of Monaco on reclaimed land at Colombo port, Sri Lanka’s biggest foreign-funded investment on record.Wickremesinghe’s coalition initially pledged to break the $82 billion economy’s reliance on China after coming to power last year, but has since worked to rebuild ties as a ballooning budget deficit and depleted reserves force it to seek external help. The port project, which stalled briefly when Wickremesinghe took office, is back on track. The International Monetary Fund in June approved a $1.5 billion loan to help Sri Lanka lower borrowing costs. On the recent arbitration ruling by a tribunal in The Hague that dismissed China’s claims to exclusive access to a large part of the disputed South China Sea, he said Sri Lanka was confident that engagement between China and the Southeast Asian nations involved should “to a large extent be able to sort out the problem.”He called on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and China to implement a code of conduct — which has been in discussion for years with little progress — for the South China Sea, a key waterway through which about $5 trillion in trade moves a year.“We are looking at Asean at being the major bloc that represents all those countries concerned and China,” he said.“But remember this is the emergence of Asian power and it means China, Japan, India, and there will be some issues of their relationship with each other and with some of the other Western powers, but we don’t think anything is going to lead to war,” Wickremesinghe said.The rise of Asian nations didn’t mean the U.S. — which has dominated security in the western Pacific since World War II — no longer had a role, but “the U.S. has to define what that role is,” he said. “It didn’t happen under the Obama administration, so a lot will depend on what happens at the next presidential election.” (Colombo Gazette) read more

Brazil opens vast Amazon reserve to mining

The reserve was created in 1984 by the then-military government(BBC) Brazil’s government has abolished a vast national reserve in the Amazon to open up the area to mining.The area, covering 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles), straddles the northern states of Amapa and Para, and is thought to be rich in gold, and other minerals.The government said nine conservation and indigenous land areas within it would continue to be legally protected.But activists have voiced concern that these areas could be badly compromised.A decree from President Michel Temer abolished a protected area known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca).Its size is larger than Denmark and about 30% of it will be open to mining.The mining and energy ministry says protected forest areas and indigenous reserves will not be affected.“The objective of the measure is to attract new investments, generating wealth for the country and employment and income for society, always based on the precepts of sustainability,” the ministry said in a statement. But opposition Senator Randolfe Rodrigues denounced the move as “the biggest attack on the Amazon of the last 50 years”, O Globo newspaper reported (in Portuguese).Maurício Voivodic, head of the conservation body WWF in Brazil, warned last month that mining in the area would lead to “demographic explosion, deforestation, the destruction of water resources, the loss of biodiversity and the creation of land conflict”.According to the WWF report, the main area of interest for copper and gold exploration is in one of the protected areas, the Biological Reserve of Maicuru.There is also said to be gold in the Para State forest, which lies within the area.The WWF says there is potential for conflict too in two indigenous reserves that are home to various ethnic communities living in relative isolation.WWF’s report said that a “gold rush in the region could create irreversible damage to these cultures”.“If the government insisted on opening up these areas for mining without discussing environmental safeguards it will have to deal with an international outcry.” Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedBrazil revokes decree opening Amazon reserve to miningSeptember 26, 2017In “Regional”Indigenous people’s rights will be respected as development advances- Minister PersaudJuly 14, 2013In “Local News”Each region in Guyana should have protected areas – GrangerAugust 15, 2016In “latest news” read more