September 26, 2008
Vancouver – According to a new report by the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC), building a power line along Highway 37 in northwest B.C. has the potential to create thousands of jobs, generate new sources of clean power and provide additional revenues to government to help pay for important programs and services.
"A new power line has the potential to spur economic development in mining, tourism and clean power projects," said Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of B.C. "The findings of the report provide a strong case for First Nations, the provincial government, industry and communities to work together to make the power line a reality."
The study, MABC Report on the Electrification of the Highway 37 Corridor (10mb PDF), cited ten potential mining projects in the study, and found that the power line has the potential to attract more than $15 billion in investment, create 10,700 jobs and generate $300 million in annual tax revenues to governments.
Demand for power in the northwest is driven largely by the mining sector, independent power projects and regional municipality growth, with additional opportunities to revitalize the tourism sector.
"We have the potential to create more than 10,000 jobs in a region where unemployment is high," said Janine North, CEO of the Northern Development Initiative Trust. "Electricity can spur economic development through mining, tourism, clean power, transportation and supply industries in the northwest."
"In principle, we support the new power line, as it provides opportunities for joint-ventures with First Nations," said Bill Adsit, President of the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation. "However, first there must be a process that considers all potential social, cultural and environmental impacts."
"As one of the founding members of the Highway 37 Coalition, the Gitxsan Hereditary Chiefs are longstanding supporters of the proposed power line," stated Chief Negotiator Elmer Derrick. "This study confirms that work should continue towards this important project."
The 517 kilometre line, which is expected to cost around $600 million and generate in excess of 2,000 megawatts each year, could also be fed power from other sources in the northwest.
"There is significant potential for power generation in the region, from hydro and wind projects to geothermal," said Gratton. "The power line could reduce greenhouse gas emissions as communities are transitioned away from diesel generators."
The study points out that development of new mines in the region would be dependent on a number of factors, including the completion of feasibility studies, the continued strength of commodity prices and the availability of affordable electric power. Such development would also need to address the concerns of First Nations.
This 10mb PDF report is now available from the Northwest Powerline Coalition website: http://www.highway37.com/i/pdf/MABCReport_Electrification_of_Highway_37.pdf
The Mining Association of British Columbia is part of the Northwest Power Line Coalition. The Coalition includes the Northern Development Initiative Trust with its forty member communities, the Association of Mineral Exploration of British Columbia, and a number of First Nations, mining companies, independent power producers and local businesses — including engineering firms and equipment suppliers — and concerned citizens.
The Northwest Power Line Coalition includes the Northern Development Initiative Trust with its forty member communities, the Mining Association of British Columbia, the Association of Mineral Exploration of British Columbia, and a number of First Nations, mining companies, independent power producers and local businesses — including engineering firms and equipment suppliers — and concerned citizens. More information is available online at www.highway37.com
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