Muskrat Falls cost estimates won't be released for several weeks, premier says

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale says updated costs for the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project won't be released for several weeks.

She says she's hopeful a related debate in the legislature can happen before the end of October.

But she says new cost estimates for the megaproject that's expected to cost more than $6.2 billion must first be sent to federal negotiators who are hammering out a federal loan guarantee.

Dunderdale says she wants that loan guarantee finalized before cost estimates are sent to Manitoba Hydro International for analysis.

Once that's done, new cost projections will be released before Muskrat Falls is debated in the legislature.

A federal loan guarantee would shave hundreds of millions of dollars off borrowing costs.

Dunderdale's Progressive Conservative government is to decide later this year whether to approve Muskrat Falls.

Critics of all political stripes say the project is too risky and the province should meet its power needs incrementally.

Dunderdale and Crown corporation Nalcor Energy say they've explored other options but are backing Muskrat Falls.

Organizations: Manitoba Hydro International

Geographic location: ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland and Labrador

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