Northwestern Ontario transmission project will replace diesel generation and provide cleaner, more sustainable power to First Nation communities and industry
THUNDER BAY, ON, April 4, 2013 /CNW/ - Thirteen First Nations and Goldcorp today announced they have signed an agreement formally incorporating Wataynikaneyap Power. This new company is developing a transmission line that will connect remote First Nations communities currently powered by diesel generation, and will provide more reliable power to local communities and industry.
"We have partnered with Goldcorp to establish Wataynikaneyap Power with a goal of First Nations eventually owning 100% of this important infrastructure that will better serve our communities. I look forward to the day we can connect our communities to the provincial power grid - it is safe, reliable and provides for cleaner energy," said Margaret Kenequanash, representing the 13 First Nations partners in Wataynikaneyap Power.
The company is proposing a single project with a two-phase development process. The first phase, a 300-km transmission line, will reinforce electricity transmission into Pickle Lake, including servicing Goldcorp's Musselwhite mine. The second phase will extend transmission north of Pickle Lake to service 10 remote First Nation communities.
In total, 21 of Ontario's 25 remote communities, as well as the Ring of Fire, could be connected to the grid. Ontario's 25 remote communities burn approximately 25 million litres of diesel fuel per year to generate electricity. The associated cost of this diesel generation has been estimated at approximately $68 million annually. In the long term, a new transmission line would cost significantly less than continued diesel generation.
The project will create new economic development opportunities including potential for renewable energy development. Approximately 1,200 construction-related jobs and 60 long-term career opportunities will be created.
"Our goal is to create as many local economic opportunities for our First Nations communities as possible," said Kenequanash. "We are currently in the process of developing training programs to prepare the local workforce not only for the construction period but for the long term as well."
"Wataynikaneyap Power is an example of how industry and First Nations can work together on projects that are good for the economy and the environment while benefitting communities in the region for years to come," said Gil Lawson, Manager of Goldcorp's Musselwhite Mine.
Although Goldcorp and other customers in the region are connected to the existing grid, the current line is at capacity and subject to frequent outages. Goldcorp is facilitating development for Phase 1 of the project, but expects to exit the company once a long-term transmission partner is secured.
Wataynikaneyap has initiated an environmental assessment on Phase 1 and expects to complete construction to Pickle Lake by the end of 2015. The company plans to initiate an environmental assessment on Phase 2 in 2013, and could begin connecting communities in 2017. Over 40 years, the project could result in over 4 million tons of avoided greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Wataynikaneyap means "line that brings light" in Anishininiimowin, named by the Elders who provided guidance to the partners.
About Wataynikaneyap Power
Wataynikaneyap Power, a partnership between 13 First Nations and Goldcorp, is a First Nation led company working to design, permit, construct, own and operate a transmission line to bring additional grid connection to Pickle Lake and beyond to connect remote First Nation communities in Northwestern Ontario. The company's vision is to provide reliable and affordable power for residents, businesses, and industry in the region and realize economic opportunities for First Nations. www.wataypower.ca.
About the First Nations partners
The 13 First Nations are located in the heart of the boreal forest comprised of Anishininiiwug and Anishinabek. Chiefs' resolutions gave the mandate to connect communities to the provincial grid and pursue a 100% First Nation owned Transmission Company. Five of the ten remote partner communities are at capacity with their diesel generators and connection restrictions are being imposed. The communities expect that any costs savings achieved by connecting to the grid be directed towards Wataynikaneyap Power. The communities also expect to participate and benefit from the economic development opportunities created by the proposed transmission project.
Goldcorp is one of the world's fastest growing senior gold producers, with operations and development projects located in safe jurisdictions throughout the Americas. A Canadian company headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Goldcorp employs more than 14,000 people worldwide. The Company is committed to responsible mining practices and is well positioned to deliver sustained, industry-leading growth and performance. www.goldcorp.com.
PHOTO AVAILABLE: Leaders and representatives of the First Nations communities and Goldcorp met on March 28, 2013, to formally incorporate Wataynikaneyap Power.
Image with caption: "Leaders and representatives of the First Nations communities and Goldcorp met on March 28, 2013, to formally incorporate Wataynikaneyap Power.(CNW Group/Wataynikaneyap Power)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130404_C2375_PHOTO_EN_25175.jpg
SOURCE: Wataynikaneyap Power
For further information:
To arrange interviews, please contact:
Jeremy Twigg, Fleishman-Hillard
Mobile: 604-306-4036 / Office: 604-688-2505