According to the Engineering News-Record, the Mesa, AZ sapphire the majority of the project work has been completed and the project is finishing up now. The facility work began in November and was completed by 400 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 640, who worked double shifts for seven days a week to complete the project. Additionally, the article does reference that the Mesa site was declared a free-trade zone, which will eliminate the ability to track shipments coming out of Mesa through customs.
“They started back in November and have been working two shifts, seven days per week,” says Roy Hamilton, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers 640. “We had about 400 members out there, but most of the work is finishing up now. The furnaces that melt the silicone and turn it into the sapphire glass need an enormous amount of electrical power, much more than the solar-panel process needs.” He adds, “SRP had to build two new switchyards for this project—that’s how much power it’s going to use.”
Apple says the Mesa project will create 1,300 construction jobs. The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters 469, Phoenix, says the fast-track job means work for 200 or more of its members for the rest of 2014. Work includes “installation of condenser water systems, chiller water systems and inert-gas systems [entailing] the use of 48-inch pipes down to six-inch pipes,” said a union spokesman.
In addition, the Mesa site was declared a free-trade zone, so goods can be shipped and received internationally without oversight from customs agents.