Alberta-based, engineering and design firm Stantec has signed a Letter of Intent to acquire Norwest Corp. With the addition of Norwest, Stantec’s Energy & Resources business operating unit will add a strong mining practice to the company’s portfolio in western Canada, Stantec said. Norwest, a 140-person energy and resources firm headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, has offices in Vancouver, British Columbia; Denver and Trinidad, Colorado; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Charleston, West Virginia. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter.

“We are seeing positive momentum in this sector after a number of challenging years,” said Gord Johnston, president and CEO, Stantec. “Both firms were able to effectively manage business during the economic downturn, and we are looking forward to expanding Stantec’s geotechnical, geological, and mining work for our energy and resources clients across western Canada and the western United States.”

Norwest has been involved with western Canadian energy and mining projects for more than 35 years. The firm has a long-standing involvement with resource assessment, and mine development in Alberta’s mineable oil sands working closely with clients from early development stages through to operations, and reclamation. Norwest’s capabilities span the full project life cycle, which includes drilling project management, oil sands geological deposit modeling, surface mine planning, hydrology, and geotechnical engineering. More recently, Norwest has shifted their focus to partnering with oil sands operators who require design and construction of compensation lakes, tailings dam design, and on-site geotechnical monitoring.

“When we first explored becoming part of Stantec, it was clear that our professional work aligned, and our company’s values were very similar,” said Steve Cameron, president, Norwest. “We appreciate their continued commitment to our industry, and their desire to grow and diversify operations. We are confident that by joining Stantec, our expertise, paired with Stantec’s resources, will provide a positive impact to both staff and clients.”

With the addition of Norwest to Stantec’s current Energy & Resources operations, the mining sector in western Canada will grow to more than 100 employees. In the Vancouver market, Norwest’s presence has assisted in the redevelopment of the northeast British Columbia coal mining sector, and new metal mine development projects. In the United States, Norwest has established itself as a leading coal mining consultant with expertise in resource and reserve assessments, mine planning, mineral processing, water management and permitting, and due diligence activities.

Norwest has successfully supported a number of international mining projects in eastern Europe, South America and China, drawing on their leadership in geology, mining engineering, and tailings management from their North American offices.