Blair Lekstrom, B.C. minister of energy and mines.
Photograph by: CNS files, .VANCOUVER â€” Prime Minister Stephen Harper has kicked in up to $130 million in federal support behind British Columbia’s North West Transmission line under his government’s green infrastructure fund.
Harper made the announcement of funding support during his visit to Washington D.C., where he billed the B.C. project as the first step in a possible power link between Canada and Alaska that would fit into both countries’ commitments to developing cleaner sources of electricity.
In a news release, provincial Minister of Energy and Mines, Blair Lekstrom said the province will now forge ahead with the project.
In planning for several years, the 335-kilometre, 287-kilovolt powerline would feed several potential mining projects in the region, including the massive NovaGold and Teck Resources Ltd. Galore Creek project, as well as allow run-of-river power projects to tap into the provincial grid.
“The British Columbia Northwest Transmission Line will build a more efficient electricity grid, increasing our use of clean and renewable sources of energy generation in the years to come,” Harper said in the announcement.
The federal commitment came as a surprise to the project’s advocates but was quickly applauded by the mining industry and a group representing economic development initiatives in B.C.'s northwest.
“Today’s announcement brings a new powerline in northern B.C. one step closer to reality, which is excellent news for northern British Columbia and for B.C.'s mining industry,” Pierre Gratton, CEO of the Mining Association of B.C., said.
In an interview, Gratton said the powerline, currently under environmental review, could serve up to a dozen mining projects in the region.
The provincial government has committed $250 million to the line’s estimated $400 million construction cost.
Gratton added that with the federal promise in place almost all its capital costs would be covered.
Should benefit Rupert a fair bit I would think.