Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas announced that work will begin on the 287-kilovolt Iskut extension to the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) this spring. It will provide clean electricity to the Red Chris mine and open up British Columbia's Northwest to new economic development and jobs.
The Iskut extension is a 93-kilometre transmission line from Bob Quinn Lake to a new substation at Tatogga Lake south of Iskut. The extension will provide clean, reliable and affordable power to the Red Chris mine as well as other industrial developments in the Northwest region. It will also help to fulfil the Province's commitment to extend clean energy grid service to the community of Iskut.
Imperial Metals Corporation, the owner of the Red Chris mine, in partnership with Tahltan Nation Development Corporation, will construct the new line. Once the Iskut extension is complete, BC Hydro will acquire it from Imperial Metals. Construction of the line remains subject to provincial permitting, like Land Act and Forest Act permits.
To accelerate the development of this project, the Province has exempted BC Hydro's purchase of the Iskut extension, the substations and the distribution line to serve Iskut, from a certificate of public convenience and necessity review by the British Columbia Utilities Commission. Construction of the Iskut extension will begin in the next few months, allowing Imperial Metals to meet its commitment to open the Red Chris gold and copper mine in spring 2014.
The Iskut extension and the Red Chris mine are expected to create over 600 construction jobs and 300 full-time, ongoing jobs for the area.
Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas -
"I am pleased that we can now move ahead with the Iskut extension and the Red Chris mine. B.C.'s Northwest will benefit from the 600 jobs during the construction of the line and the mine."
"The Iskut extension is also an important part of our long-term vision for clean, low-cost energy for all British Columbians no matter where they live."
Charles Reid, president & CEO, BC Hydro -
"Electricity is the backbone of B.C.'s economy. Our clean, reliable, low-cost electricity provides a big advantage to industry and businesses in B.C. Thanks to this unique agreement, we are also able to provide clean power to Iskut, allowing that community to reduce its reliance on diesel generation."
Pierre Lebel, Imperial Metals -
"We are pleased to be contributing to the construction and financing of the Iskut Extension and NTL. The development of the Red Chris Mine will be made possible with the more than 600 construction jobs and 300 full-time jobs. This power line is seen in the North as community building infrastructure, bringing jobs and stability to a part of northern B.C. that has not traditionally enjoyed the benefits that so many of us in this province can take for granted."
- A 16-kilometre distribution line from a new substation at Tatogga Lake will connect the community of Iskut to the electricity grid. This is part of the Province's agreement with the federal government for a $130-million federal Green Infrastructure Fund contribution to NTL.
- Iskut is currently powered by diesel generators, and this extension will bring clean, affordable energy to the community.
- NTL is a 287-kilovolt line that will run approximately 340 kilometres from the Skeena substation, near Terrace, to a new substation to be built near Bob Quinn Lake.
- NTL received environmental approval by the federal government on May 6, 2011 and provincial approval under the Environmental Assessment Act on Feb. 23, 2011.
- Opening Red Chris mine in 2014 supports the BC Jobs Plan commitment to open eight new mines by 2015.
- The Red Chris mine was issued an Environmental Assessment Certificate in 2005 and a Mines Act permit on May 4, 2012.
- BC Hydro is implementing a tariff to recover the remaining cost for NTL from the clean energy producers and industrial developments (including Red Chris) that will use the line.
- Construction of NTL began in January 2012. Work is underway along the line route, as well as on construction of the new Bob Quinn substation and upgrades to the Skeena substation.
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas