Tahltan buy stake in B.C. clean-en­ergy projects

The Prince George Citizen - - News -

VIC­TO­RIA — An Indige­nous na­tion in north­west British Columbia says an in­vest­ment in clean-en­ergy projects worth more than $2.5 bil­lion rep­re­sents a his­toric move to­wards its eco­nomic in­de­pen­dence.

The Tahltan Na­tion an­nounced Mon­day the pur­chase of a five per cent stake in three run-of-river hy­dro-elec­tric projects lo­cated in its tra­di­tional ter­ri­to­ries, which in­clude the com­mu­ni­ties of Iskut, Dease Lake and Tele­graph Creek.

Tahltan Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment Pres­i­dent Chad Day said the deal marks a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic achieve­ment for the na­tion as it will gen­er­ate rev­enue and pro­vide clean en­ergy for decades.

The Tahltan pur­chased a por­tion of North­west British Columbia Hy­dro Elec­tric Fa­cil­i­ties for more than $124 mil­lion from Ax­ium In­fra­struc­ture Canada and Man­ulife Fi­nan­cial Cor­po­ra­tion, said Day in a tele­phone in­ter­view.

The power-gen­er­at­ing fa­cil­i­ties in­clude run-of-the-river projects, For­rest Kerr, McLy­mont Creek and Vol­cano Creek, which pro­duce elec­tric­ity sold to BC Hy­dro, the prov­ince’s Crown-owned en­ergy util­ity.

“All three projects have been up and run­ning for mul­ti­ple years.

“There’s a 60-year wa­ter li­cence on these projects with BC Hy­dro, so there’s about 57 years left,” said Day, who ex­pected the li­censes will be re­newed once their terms ex­pire. He said the projects, lo­cated on the Iskut River, use the nat­u­ral flow of the wa­ter and cause no en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age.

“These were projects that didn’t re­quire a dam or any ma­jor de­struc­tion to the en­vi­ron­ment,” Day said.

The Tahltan Na­tion said in a state­ment its ter­ri­tory is home to three of B.C.’s 19 op­er­at­ing mines and rep­re­sents about 25 per cent of cur­rent min­ing ex­plo­ration ac­tiv­i­ties in the prov­ince.

The na­tion said its par­tic­i­pa­tion in the run-of-river op­er­a­tions rep­re­sents the largest clean-en­ergy in­vest­ment by a First Na­tion in B.C. his­tory and one of the largest in Canada.

State­ments re­leased by Man­ulife Fi­nan­cial Corp., Al­taGas Canada Inc., and Ax­ium In­fra­struc­ture Canada Inc., said the com­pa­nies look for­ward to a lengthy part­ner­ship with the Tahltan on clean en­ergy.

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