November 11, 2012
Speaker: Professor Ian MacLachlan, Professor of Geography, University of Lethbridge.
Title of Talk: "Resource processing & industrial symbiosis in Western Canada: What can we learn from Western Australia?"
Time: Friday, November 16, 2012 (3:00 pm)
Room: Anderson Hall 116
About the Presentation:
Given Western Canada’s continued dependence on crude and semi-processed resource exports and related services, Albertans ought to find more sustainable ways to process their natural resource wealth. The seminar briefly considers regional development challenges in Western Canada before turning to Western Australia, a booming resource-based economy that shares much in common with Alberta. The seminar focuses on the Kwinana industrial complex on Cockburn Sound, the largest harbour on Australia’s Indian Ocean coastline. Initially based on an Anglo Iranian oil refinery which came on stream in 1955, Kwinana has become a large and densely-interconnected industrial zone. Just thirty kilometers south of Perth, it features a wide range of large-scale resource-processing refineries and processing plants (oil, gas, nickel, alumina, titanium dioxide, chemicals, water, and electrical power generation). The interplant linkages and associated industrial inertia that have kept Kwinana in operation for some sixty years are explained using the terminology of conventional agglomeration economies. However, the seminar then introduces a relatively new theory of industrial districts that is couched in terms of industrial ecology and symbiosis. This alternate explanatory framework has exciting implications in an age in which sustainability objectives are becoming increasingly important in the planning of industrial districts and in Alberta’s resource-based future. The seminar concludes by returning to Western Canada and considers the potential for industrial symbiosis on the prairies in projects as large and complex as “Alberta’s Industrial Heartland” (Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan and associated municipalities) and as small as Lethbridge’s industrial park