Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik September 20, 2011 - 1:50 pm

Oceanic, Makivik issue joint call for power line to Nunavik

"Electrification of the North... is critical to responsible sustainable development"


Vancouver-based Oceanic Iron Ore Corp., which wants to develop a huge iron mine near Aupaluk, is teaming up with Makivik Corp. to ask Quebec to connect Nunavik to the provincial power grid — a connection that would also open the door to a high-speed fibre-optic internet connection.

“Electrification of the North with low-cost clean hydro power is critical to the responsible sustainable development of the North. A power line to service the Inuit communities in this part of the Nunavik region and to supply the necessary power to support the development of Oceanic’s Ungava Bay project as well as other private sector projects on a timely basis should be given the highest priority,” said Steven Dean, chairman and chief executive officer of Oceanic, in a Sept. 20 news release.

The company also wants to see a year-round deep sea port near Aupaluk, the community closest to its large iron ore deposit.

Oceanic has told Quebec what its infrastructure requirements are for the company’s Ungava Bay project — and it’s hoping for action under the government’s Plan Nord.

“Oceanic and Makivik are in agreement that a hydro power transmission line servicing the Ungava Bay region and a year round deep sea port near Aupaluk will benefit both parties and is a key priority,” said the news release.

Last month, Makivik Corp., Aupaluk’s landholding corporation and the Oceanic announced that they agreed to the terms and conditions on which Oceanic would continue to develop its Hopes Advance Bay project near Aupaluk, and “set a basis” for a later impact benefits agreement.

“Our relationship with Oceanic has been very successful so far and I would like, on behalf of Makivik and on behalf of the Inuit of Nunavik to entirely support the Oceanic initiative. Makivik would greatly appreciate if these projects could be included in the Plan North first phase of implementation,” Makivik president Pita Aatami said in the release.

Within 15 years, Plan Nunavik — Nunavik’s submission to Plan Nord — asked Quebec to connect Nunavik to the province’s power grid and install a fibre-optic transmission line that would allow high-speed internet, eliminating the need for expensive satellite time.

Connecting the region to the power grid would cost $890 million over 14 years, according to a 2003 study by the engineering firm RSW, cited in Plan Nunavik.

By not moving ahead to connect Nunavik to its power grid, Plan Nunavik suggested Quebec is “restricting the ability of Nunavik Inuit to develop the region and to enjoy a better quality of life.”

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