May 2011

SNC-Lavalin celebrates 100 years

Engineering and construction firm maintains strong presence in mining

By Heather Ednie


SNC-Lavalin is providing its engineering, procurement, construction management expertise at the Ambatovy nickel project in Madagascar, Africa | Courtesy of SNC-Lavalin

In April, Montreal-based engineering and construction giant SNC-Lavalin celebrated its centennial. “This is a tremendous achievement,” declared Pierre Duhaime, the company’s president and CEO, at the SNC-Lavalin International Symposium. “We’re very proud of every one of our employees, both past and present, who have made SNC-Lavalin the amazing company that it is today.”

Looking back at the history of the company is like tracing the development of modern Quebec.

After opening his one-man engineering consulting office in Montreal in 1911, Arthur Surveyer developed a strong reputation for excellence in engineering. In 1937, Surveyer entered into a partnership with Emil Nenniger and Georges Chênevert. A decade later, the name was changed to Surveyer, Nenniger and Chênevert. In the late 1960s, the firm completed Manic-5, still the largest multiple-arch dam in the world. In 1967, the company became SNC as it expanded its services to include project management and turnkey projects. By 1977, SNC had operations in over 40 countries and continued to grow through the decade.

Lalonde and Valois formed in 1936 to focus on highway and institutional projects. The company was renamed Lalonde, Valois, Lamarre, Valois and Associates (LVLVA) in 1963 and eventually became Lavalin in 1972. Lavalin’s projects included building Alcan’s Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean smelter and the James Bay hydroelectric development project.

In 1991, the two largest engineering companies in Canada merged to become SNC-Lavalin, which has continued to grow and expand internationally over the last two decades.

The mining and metallurgy sector has been an important part of the SNC-Lavalin portfolio, said Feroz Ashraf, executive vice-president of global mining and metallurgy operations. “Our multi-product expertise covers aluminum, alumina, base metals, precious metals, phosphate, potash, and mine reclamation and tailings, to name a few,” explained Ashraf. “We have carried out successful projects for all of the major clients in this sector, often in challenging and remote locations.” SNC-Lavalin currently has multi-year contracts with AngloAmerican, Vale and Freeport-McMoRan, and has recently signed an agreement with BHP Billiton for its potash, diamond and speciality minerals sector.

As part of its centennial celebrations, the company has launched an initiative called 100 Acts of WE CARE. It will recognize 100 examples of employee engagement in his or her community that reflect the sustainable development values of SNC-Lavalin.

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