Essar Steel Algoma Inc. is seeking regulatory approvals for a new $55-million alternative port facility, apparently prepared to pull the plug on its existing arrangements with Port of Algoma Inc.
Recently filed court documents disclose that the Sault steelmaker started looking into building a port of its own last August.Early concepts included floating structures, fixed structures or a combination of both.
A prefeasibility investigation conducted for Algoma by a design and construction company concluded earlier this year that a fixed structure for docking ships and unloading raw material was feasible as an alternative to the existing Sault port, subject to securing necessary regulatory approvals.
In January, Algoma decided to proceed with design work and filed regulatory applications with Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, as well as Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and Sault Ste. Marie Conservation Authority.
One year before it filed for insolvency protection in November 2015, the steel producer transferred control of its Sault port facilities to its ultimate parent company, Essar Global Fund Ltd.