I would like to congratulate the shareholder who had the guts to criticize Mark Morabito, executive chairman of Alderon, for his political remarks on Muskrat Falls at their annual meeting on June 4.
What Mr. Morabito was reported to have said is that “power definitely is the biggest issue for us and the proposed Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project is crucial to the company’s $989-million Kamistiatusset project.”
Muskrat Falls is the most sensitive political issue in the province today and to interfere in this manner is incomprehensible. It was a threat, no other words to describe it, and an insult to the people of this province and he should withdraw his remarks and apologize.
He also gave the impression that Muskrat Falls was the only source of power that Alderon can access.
Let me enlighten Mr. Morabito: in 1998, Newfoundland and Labrador signed a deal with Quebec Hydro for recall rights on 300 megawatts of the power generated at the Upper Churchill project at the same price as we agreed to sell power to them in 1969. (To my knowledge, Quebec was under no obligation to make this offer.)
Let me quote the agreement with Quebec Hydro: “Only energy surplus to the province’s own needs would be exported out of the province. NL Hydro priority will be to continue local and domestic needs within Labrador.” As we could only use 170 megawatts in Labrador, the other 130 megawatts could not be sold.
On April 2, 2009, former premier Danny Williams announced details of a “historic agreement” to sell electricity directly through the Quebec power grid and into the United States. He told reporters he understood that the power is now being sold into the New York area through Emera Energy Inc.
So, contrary to the widely held belief that Hydro-Québec refuses to allow us to use their power grid, we have been using the grid since 2009.
Now let me pose the following questions to Mr. Morabito:
• How many megawatts of power do you require for this mining project?
• Availability of power is one consideration, but another is price. Do you have an agreement to purchase your power from the Muskrat project and at what price?
• As stated earlier, Labrador needs have to be addressed before we can export all or any part of the surplus 130 megawatts. Does the present agreement with the United States purchaser include a clause that the power can be recalled when you are ready to use it?
• You gave the impression that the only source of power available to you was from Muskrat Falls. Have you entered into any discussions with Hydro-Québec to obtain a quotation for your power needs? If so, what price did they offer you?
I look forward to hearing what Mr. Morabito has to say on these questions.