Pulse weekly outlook: Manitoba pea plant construction continues

MarketsFarm — Work continues on Roquette’s pea processing plant at Portage la Prairie, Man., where the French plant-protein firm says measures have been taken to meet health and safety regulations regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Beginning in early March we proactively started collaborating with contractors on COVID-19 prevention measures, such as increased cleaning of communal spaces and thermal camera monitoring of everyone entering the site,” said Michelle Finley, the company’s communications and public affairs manager for Canada.

“We have followed the province of Manitoba’s guidelines for social distancing and limited gatherings to no more than 10 people. Where possible, we’ve adjusted tasks to incorporate a minimum of two meters of personal space.”

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As of Thursday, she said, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the people at the worksite and construction remains on schedule.

Production at the facility is slated to begin sometime in late 2020, about 18 months later than originally planned.

Construction of the nearly-$500 million plant did not get fully underway until the fall of 2018, more than a year after its groundbreaking ceremony. Roquette said the delay was the result of design upgrades.

The pea-processing plant is expected to be the largest in the world, capable handling of 125,000 tonnes of peas per year and employing up to 120 people.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg. Includes files from Alexis Stockford of the Manitoba Co-operator.

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