Sign up for our free weekday bulletin.

New Nova plant to rise from the ground this year

Published on

Troy Shantz

After a year of laying the groundwork, the $2.2-billion expansion of Nova Chemicals will begin to take shape this spring, the company says.

Structural steel and large equipment components will start to arrive in coming months at the Rokeby Lines site, which has undergone a “dramatic transformation” over the past year, said Meaghan Lawrence, Nova’s communications consultant.

About 120 local contractors are in place and the parking lots and roadways will be completed early in the year, with a steady flow of concrete arriving for the foundation work on both the new Advanced SCLAIRTECH technology facility and expansion of the existing plant, she said.

“Our employees and contractors are making great strides.”

Berms now line the southwest perimeter of the site to reduce construction noise for neighbours and about 1,200 trees have been planted, she added.

Christmas came early last December when Nova announced the new plant and expansion were a go, igniting what some have called the single largest capital investment in Sarnia-Lambton’s history.

The project, to be completed late 2021, is expected to create 150 full-time manufacturing jobs, up to 1,400 construction jobs, and years of skilled trades employment. It is also expected to generate hundreds of spin-off jobs in other sectors, officials say.
Ontario is contributing $100 million and Ottawa investing $35 million.

The project itself has two parts.
The new plant in St. Clair Township will produce up to one billion pounds of polyethylene a year. Polyethylene is the world’s most common plastic and is used in everything from sandwich bags and cling wrap to bottles and coatings.
The second half of the project is an expansion next door at the existing Corunna “cracker” unit, which will provide ethylene feedstock to the new plant.
The cracker expansion will boost the unit’s capacity by 50%, making it one of the largest in North America, the company said.

Nova is already the region’s largest private employer with 1,000 permanent employees and 300 contractors.

The company’s three local facilities currently generate $144 million in salaries and benefits annually and contribute more than $42 million in income and property taxes.

The progress so far, by the numbers:

  • Trucks have delivered more than 60,000 tonnes of gravel for roadways and parking lots on-site
  • Highway 40 between Petrolia Line and Rokeby Line was upgraded at a cost of $14.1 million to accommodate higher traffic volumes.
  • The new main access road into the site was built and opened
  • Pile driving work continues to lay the foundation of the new facility.

    A liner being installed on a future water retention pond at the Nova Chemical site.
    Submitted Photo


More like this