December 2013

Local 771 Ironworkers Erect Massive Head Frame

Local 771 (Regina, Saskatchewan) ironworkers and the Walters Group have teamed up to build one of the largest head frames in the world. Local 771 Business Manager Colin Daniels believes this feat would not be possible without the commitment of Walters Inc., the owner of BHP Billiton, and union ironworkers to the safety culture. Local 771 looks forward to completing the incredible project ahead of schedule and under budget with zero accidents.
The recent spike in natural resource stocks has created many employment opportunities for union ironworkers in the province of Saskatchewan; potash (a mineral ore which fertilizer and salt are derived from) is at the top of that list. Saskatchewan's 10 existing potash mines saw a large demand to increase extraction and processing facilities to fit the needs of the growing economy. Local 771 has employed as many as 1,000 travel cards over the past five years to meet the manpower requirements for a mass potash mine expansion across the province, and grown their membership to over 870.

In addition to this project, three brand new potash facilities are currently being constructed at new ore seam locations. The most notable of all is the head frame project at Jansen, Saskatchewan. Walters Inc. was awarded the construction contract to erect one of the world's taller head frames at BHP Billiton's new potash mine. Phase one of the twin head frame project will consist of 3,500 tons of main head frame steel, towering to a height of 312 feet. Walters employed 32 Local 771 ironworkers and 20 boomers from across Canada. Walters chose to assemble modular sections to be erected in 80-ton lifts. Handling the large head frame legs and making modular lifts required the need for two Liebherr crawlers. The big lifts were handled by an LR 11350 with a luffing attachment, while a LR1300 took care of the general erection and man basket operations. Two 250-ton Kobelco crawlers and an 80-ton rough terrain crane were used to pre-build the mods. Walters estimates phase one to be completed in February 2014.

The ironworkers would like to extend a special thanks to Gord Graham, deputy project director of the Jansen Mine, for his ongoing assistance and support.

Walters Inc. Site Management and Supervision Team
Ed Lacroix, senior project manager
Derek Howchin, project manager
Brian Penny, construction manager
Bill Riley, site superintendent
Terry Dosser, site superintendent
Scott Siemens, general foreman
Arthur Fougere, general foreman
Anthony Morden, certified safety officer

Project Facts & Figures

Head Frame Information
- 3,500-ton temporary head frame steel
- 3,500-ton main head frame steel
- 68 lifts for the head frame
- Columns weight - 48 ton x 20
- Nodes with horizontal - 80 ton x 6
- Kinked nodes - 170 ton x 2
- Shaft extension - 180 ton
- Upper sheave house - 175 ton
- Rope galleries - 234 Ton x 2
- East and west hoist house
- Two electrical buildings
- Shaft being dug with progress in September 2013 of 150 meters with the total depth being approximately 1000 meters
- Phase one project finish February 2014