Pressure on for Labrador west power line project

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Provincial Natural Resources minister suggests decision on line for Kami to come this week

The provincial government is being pressed to immediately approve spending on the construction of a new, main transmission line from Churchill Falls to Labrador West, to support mining expansion and “ensure the future of the region,” according to the local chamber of commerce.

The Labrador West Chamber of Commerce wrote reiterated a call for approval of the power line, considered essential for industrial expansion in the area.

“The third transmission line (from Churchill Falls) is critical for not only the Kami Project (of Alderon Iron Ore), but future growth and development in Labrador west,” chamber vice-president Dr. Rehan Malik said in a statement today.

In addition to Alderon’s Kami project, the chamber has made reference to the expansion of IOC’s operations and the LabMag project of Tata Steel Minerals Canada as potential new energy users in the area.

The call of the business community collective adds to the pressure on government, after earlier public calls for approval of the line from the mayors of Labrador west and Labrador MP Yvonne Jones.

The province has the power to approve the line’s construction without sending the file to the Public Utilities Board.

With recent assurances of a firm financial partnership for the Kami project, a completed benefits agreement with the Innu of Labrador and Labrador City, and recent release from provincial environmental assessment, Alderon Iron Ore leadership is looking to the line’s approval.

“Our next goal is to finalize access to power for the project, which has also been in the works for over two years," president and CEO Tayfun Eldem said in a statement issued Jan. 10. "We were very encouraged by the Newfoundland government's comments prior to Christmas that indicated a decision was forthcoming, as they acknowledge the importance of a new transmission line to facilitate industrial development in western Labrador.”

Natural Resources Minister Derrick Dalley was asked about construction of the proposed new power line from Churchill Falls to Labrador west on Friday as Tom Marshall became the province’s interim premier.

“There’s several aspects of that line that we are considering. I do expect that we’ll have a decision within the next week or so," Dalley said.

Aside from the power line, the Kami project is still awaiting a decision from the federal minister of Environment, expected in February.

Organizations: Labrador West Chamber of Commerce, IOC, Tata Steel Minerals Canada Public Utilities Board.With

Geographic location: Labrador, Alderon Iron Ore

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Recent comments

  • Concerned
    January 29, 2014 - 11:46

    This government should be more concerned about a third transmission line for our back-up power. This company is expecting the ratepayers to cover this cost.

  • John Smith
    January 29, 2014 - 10:40

    ...sure...let's spend 300 million on a power line for a mine that may never appear...give me a break