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Northwest Connection2014 BC HYDRO'S Northwest Transmission Line ALTAGAS' Forrest Kerr Run of River Project IMPERIAL METALS' Red Chris Mine

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June 2014

344 KM OF NEW ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY BC Hydro would like to thank the people of northwest B.C. for their support of the Northwest Transmission Line project. The Northwest Transmission Line will provide clean power to new industrial developments in northwestern B.C., benefitting our entire province. To learn more visit




June 2014


Pillars for growth TERRACE AND area residents had barely settled down from the buzz created when the Vancouver Canucks met the New York Islanders in the NHL exhibition Hockeyville game played at the Sportsplex on Sept. 14, 2009, when email inboxes began to fill up two days later with a crucial announcement. From the federal government, the announcement confirmed it was putting $130 million from its Green Infrastructure Fund into BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line. It was sufficient to kick start a project long sought after by regional governments and resource companies – a major power line running north of the Skeena Substation south of Terrace to provide reliable and affordable power to an area which had been relying on diesel power before. Long time residents of the northwest will recall that the 2009 announcement revived the project which had stalled in the fall of 2007. That was when NovaGold, which was to use power from the line for its Galore Creek copper and gold mine, put the latter on hold when its mine construction costs rose. But with the federal commitment in hand and, soon, a new financing partner on the scene, Calgary-based AltaGas, the line was back in business. AltaGas acquired the plans for three run-of-

river power projects along the Iskut River and with a sales contract to BC Hydro, needed the line to transmit the power into the provincial grid. The largest of the three, Forrest Kerr, is the first to be completed by AltaGas. Add in Imperial Metals, which wanted to wanted a connection to the provincial grid for its Red Chris copper mine, and BC Hydro had a customer base in place. If the Northwest Transmission Line and associated works helped revive the northwestern B.C. economy, it also introduced a new business model to the region. BC Hydro made direct contract and other financial arrangements with the First Nations and the Nisga’a Nation to participate in the economic benefits arising from the transmission line’s construction as it passed through traditional First Nations territory and Nisga’a lands. With construction of all three major projects well on their way to completion, the combined investment value of the Northwest Transmission Line, the Forrest Kerr run-of-river project and the Red Chris mine belonging to Imperial Metals is approximately $2.3 billion. The result is reliable infrastructure on which to base the next steps of northwestern BC’s economic future.

TABLE OF CONTENTS …. A message from Christy Clark, Premier of BC ...Pages 4 A message from BC mines minister Bill Bennett . Page 6 BC Hydro is proud of its legacy ........................... Page 8 Terrace to benefit from development ................. Page 9 Digging in for social licence .............................. Page 12 Corporation builds connections ....................... Page 14 The goal is a stable jobs climate........................ Page 15 You name it, he’s been there .............................. Page 16 Transmission line revived economy .................. Page 18 Mine to use transmission line power ................ Page 20 Company to generate clean power .................. Page 22 He now owns his own truck ............................... Page 24 Line adds to stability ......................................... Page 24

THE TERRACE STANDARD acknowledges the cooperation and assistance of The Smithers Interior News of Smithers, BC, the Province of BC’s Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Province of BC, Valard Construction, PR Associates, the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation, the Kitselas First Nation, the Kitsumkalum First Nation, the Nisga’a Lisims Government, BC Hydro, Imperial Metals and AltaGas in the publication of this supplement. It is being distributed in Houston, Smithers, the Hazeltons, the Nass Valley, Stewart and Terrace.

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June 2014

Power line secures region’s future By CHRISTY CLARK


esource development is the backbone of British Columbia’s economy and the key to our future prosperity. Mining has made a huge comeback in B.C. and the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) will ensure this important industry continues to grow and support families across our province by opening up world-class mineral deposits and enabling the development of new mines in B.C.’s northwest. NTL is a provincebuilding exercise that will open up northwest B.C. to up to $15 billion in mining investment, creating up to 10,000 jobs and generating $300 million in annual tax revenues. The NTL will ensure that resource companies looking to invest can do so with confidence, knowing they will connect to a reliable power system with cost-effective electricity.


PREMIER CHRISTY Clark during a tour of the Rio Tinto Alcan smelter modernization project in Kitimat. NTL will support investments like Imperial Metals’ Red Chris mine – one of the largest copper gold deposits in the world – which will employ 350 people, including many First Nations, in high-paying, family supporting jobs.

Red Chris will connect to the NTL via the Iskut Extension. The Iskut Extension is a 93 kilometre transmission line that ties Red Chris Mine into the NTL and ensures the mine is powered by clean, reliable electricity. The exten-

sion also supports a grid connection for the community of Iskut, which currently relies on expensive diesel. Red Chris will have longterm benefits for the region as it is expected to have a production rate of 30,000 tonnes per

day over a projected life of 28 years. British Columbia is known around the world for having clean, renewable and reliable energy that citizens and industry can depend on. Innovative investments, like the AltaGas

Forrest Kerr Project, a 195 megawatt run-ofriver hydroelectric facility with the capacity to power about 70,000 homes are the type of mega-projects that will hook into the NTL and power northwest BC moving forward. In

fact, Forrest Kerr is now the largest single intake run-of-river project in British Columbia. The Forrest Kerr Project employed 400 people during construction and is a model for First Nations partnerships as AltaGas worked closely with the Tahltan First Nation. From the time BC Hydro was created more than 50 years ago, British Columbia has built some of the most ambitious power projects in the world and the NTL is no different. The opportunity to develop projects of this magnitude is often once in a generation and just as generations of British Columbians have benefited from historic investments like the W.A.C. Bennett and Mica dams, I know our children and grandchildren will benefit from the investments we’re making today to support and grow our resource industries and provide jobs and opportunities. Christy Clark is the Premier of British Columbia.


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Clean energy drives economy forward By BILL BENNETT


ccess to affordable, reliable and clean energy is critical to attracting investment and capitalizing on the potential of our natural resources in British Columbia. BC Hydro is investing $1.7 billion per year in our electricity system to make sure we have power where and when it’s needed to support economic growth. The Northwest, with its world class mineral deposits, has unparalleled economic potential that will be realized with the completion of the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL). The 287 kilovolt, 340 kilometre line runs from the Skeena Substation in Terrace to Bob Quinn Lake and will open • up the Northwest to as much as $15 billion• in mining investment – creating up to 10,000 • jobs and generating • $300 million in annual tax revenues. • This fall, Red Chris, the first mine to connect to the NTL, will open.

Red Chris is one of the top 10 copper gold deposits in the world and it will provide highpaying, family-supporting jobs for decades. When it opens this fall, the $540 million project will employ 350 people, including many First Nations. The jobs and opportunities supported by this world-class mineral deposit would not have been possible without the reliable and affordable supply of clean electricity provided by the NTL. Red Chris is only the beginning. More than one-quarter of the 19 major mine proposals currently active in the environmental assessment process are located in the Northwest and in 2012, over 40% GOVERNMENT OF BC PHOTO of exploration spending in British Columbia ENERGY AND mines minister Bill Bennett, right, speaks with Red Chris mine construction occurred in the region. workers during a tour of the site in the summer of 2013. AV GAS This year, a decision is expected the enviand the largest single generate electricity. Whether it’s mining JET A onAND JETjobs.B FUEL ronmental assessment In addition to new intake run-of-river proj- This clean supply of or clean energy, strong for the KSM project – mines, the NTL also OIL ect in British Columbia. electricity will provide relationships with First HT LUBRICANTS/MOTOR one of the largest unde- supports clean energy, Forest Kerr will redirect the affordable and reli- Nations are absolutely BULK FUEL DELIVERY veloped gold projects in such as the $725 mil- a portion of the flow of able power to support essential. That’s why the world - representing lion Forest Kerr proj- the Iskut River through economic growth and British Columbia be24 HOUR GAS a potential investment ect & – oneDIESEL of the largest a tunnel to an under- resource development came the first province of over $5 billion and infrastructure CARDLOCK SYSTEM develop- ground powerhouse in British Columbia’s to share direct revenue over 1,000 long-term ments in the Northwest containing turbines to northwest. generated from new

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June 2014

mines and clean energy projects with First Nations and it’s why AltaGas worked hard to complete a comprehensive Impact Benefit Agreement with the Tahltan Nation for the Forest Kerr project. Today, the mining sector supports over 30,000 jobs with an average salary of over $120,000 and is the largest private sector employer of First Nations in British Columbia. The clean energy industry is also critical to our economic development – employing 2700 people, including 690 First Nations, in many remote communities across the province. The NTL and the access it provides to affordable, reliable and clean energy will ensure that these critical industries continue to grow and provide wellpaying jobs for families and communities in British Columbia for generations to come. Provincial energy and mines minister Bill Bennett is also the MLA for Kootenay East.

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June 2014

Line creates an economic legacy After more than eight years of planning and construction, BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line is about to be energized – unleashing the economic potential of a region previously off the grid. The following remarks were submitted by Greg Reimer, B.C. Hydro’s Executive VicePresident of Transmission and Distribution. The B.C. government started discussions with us in 2006 about the need to provide electricity to future mining projects,” said Reimer. “At that time, the province’s electricity grid went only as far north as Meziadin Junction. Yet there were scores of potential mines further north, with companies like Imperial Metals looking for a reliable source of clean power before committing to construction.” An industry study provided reasons for optimism.

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Terrace to do well from development By DAVE PERNAROWSKI


errace is in the midst of an economic boom as a result of  all  the major  developments occurring in the region. The catalyst for this new activity in our region is the construction  of B.C. Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line (NTL). More than $60 billion in projects and investments in mining, energy, oil & gas, bio-energy, and forestry operations are already in production or planned  for the area and the transmission line  will soon be online to provide a  steady  supply of clean power to these projects  and future industrial developments. The Northwest Transmission Line  will continue to play an important role in the economic development of this region. Strategically located, Terrace  has been successful in positioning itself as the service centre for Northwest B.C. This strategy and our focus to build infrastructure, like the North-

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From Page 8

BC Hydro proud of social legacy The study showed that the Northwest Transmission Line could facilitate up to 10,000 jobs from new mines and other industrial developments and generate $300 million in annual tax revenues. “Now, with the Northwest Transmission Line coming into service, these projects can advance, benefiting northwest B.C. and our entire province,” Reimer said. Indeed, the Iskut extension to the project will enable Imperial Metals to open the Red Chris copper and gold mine 80 kilometres south of Dease Lake later this year.

Overcoming challenging terrain Extending the transmission grid halfway to the Yukon has been no small feat. Stretching more than 340 kilometers from Terrace to Bob Quinn Lake – the

longest line added to the electricity system in close to 20 years – the Northwest Transmission Line crosses mountain passes and massive rivers. It also traverses Nisga’a Nation treaty settlement lands and the traditional territories of eight First Nations. “It was extremely important to build strong relationships with Nisga’a Nation and the First Nations,” Reimer said. “We needed to understand the impacts this project would have on their lands and work with them to find solutions and to promote economic opportunities.” In addition, there were fish-bearing streams, wetlands and endangered species habitat to be crossed. “You can’t build a major infrastructure project without impacts,” Reimer said. “Early in the planning process, we recog-

nized that entering the B.C. environmental assessment process would help clarify what those impacts would be and identify ways to minimize them.” The Northwest Transmission Line received its Environmental Assessment Certificate in 2011. Industry also needed to make its commitment. “There had to be a guaranteed anchor tenant contributing to the capital costs, so we could protect ratepayers,” Reimer said. This came as a $180-million contribution from AltaGas, seeking a way to interconnect its Forrest-Kerr green hydro project. As well, the federal Green Infrastructure Program committed $130 million towards the project’s capital costs. A new tariff will ensure that the remaining capital costs are recovered from future users of the Northwest Transmission Line.


BC HYDRO vice president Greg Reimer.

Building an engineering marvel Those travelling north of the Skeena substation have witnessed an engineering marvel. Since 2012, close to 450


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In many cases, this work was completed by helicopter, with huge structures suspended in the sky as if they weighed no more than a toothpick. With a new substation now built at Bob Quinn Lake, expansions made to Skeena Substation near Terrace, and 2,100 kilometres of lines strung into place, the Northwest Transmission Line is ready to go. BC Hydro is proud of the social legacy the project will leave. “The BC Hydro project team realized that building a strong economy requires empowering the local workforce,” Reimer said. “They worked with Nisga’a Nation, First Nations and local education institutions to set up ‘bootcamps’ training aboriginal participants in a variety of skills – from chainsaw safety to fire suppression to occupational first aid. More than 300 people participated, and most

found jobs or went on to further their education.” As well, BC Hydro sponsored a Labour Market Partnerships program through funding from the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training. The steering committee – comprising representatives from industry, the community, First Nations and local governments – identified the types of jobs required versus the ability of local labour to fill those jobs. Projects have since targeted improving job readiness, promoting trades training and attracting skilled workers to northwest B.C. “Building the Northwest Transmission Line has been a huge effort and its success has resulted directly from the strong support of local communities, First Nations and Nisga’a Nation, and the hard work of our contractors and the project team,” Reimer said.

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June 2014

Digging deep for social licence


obert Simpson is moving past the popular “social licence” term used in business and political circles nowadays. If social licence is broadly defined as a company receiving approval to operate in an area from the people who live in that area, Simpson, the president and founder of the public relations firm PR Associates, looks deeper. “Now it’s shared values. If companies aren’t willing to adapt and show they have the same values as the community, it’s not going to go well.” Simpson, the president and founder of the public relations firm PR Associates, credits Michael Porter of the Harvard Business School with developing the concept of shared values. It’s something PR Associates works with every day in connecting various industrial clients with communities in which they are

either located or where they have development proposals in the works. Be it social licence or shared values, a mutually beneficial connection between a company and a community is of equal importance to success as the prospect of employment or the detailed engineering and design that goes into a project. “You just can’t operate in B.C. without it,” said Simpson of rooting a company within a community. “Shared values is simply good business.” That’s particularly the case when companies deal with First Nations, says Simpson. “Rights and title are a given when business sits at the table.” In the northwest, PR Associates has been involved with several aspects of B.C. Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line. With the Tahltan Central Council as a client, PR Associates undertook the campaign to provide information on

the economic benefits from the line’s construction as it passed through Tahltan territory. The benefits were negotiated with the provincial crown corporation and were subject to a vote among Tahltan to approve or reject the package. The council also sought approval for a broader connection with the provincial government, that of looking at opportunities and benefits for industry which would follow once the transmission line was completed. More than 1,700 Tahltans registered to vote and more than 770 eligible voters 18 years or older did vote, a 45 per cent participation rate, comparable to municipal elections. Of those who voted, 82 per cent cast their ballots in favour of the agreement. PR Associates also undertook the information distribution campaign for another vote among the Tahltan, this time for approval of


ROBERT SIMPSON, president of PR Associates, with Dave Pernarowski, the account manager at the Vancouver public relations firm’s new Terrace office. an economic benefits package arising from the three run-of-river projects being built by AltaGas in Tahltan territory. This time more than 560 Tahltan of the

1,900 Tahltan who registered and 71 per cent voted in favour. In the northwest, the PR Associates client list includes Seabridge Gold, which is work-

ing its way through the environmental review needed to develop the KSM project near Stewart and Avanti, the company that wants to open a molybdenum mine at

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June 2014

Tahltan company builds connections


E used to knock on their doors. And now they knock on his. The turn around in making business connections is the biggest change Bill Adsit has seen in the years he’s been involved with the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation, the business arm of the Tahltan Nation. Adsit stepped down from the presidency of the corporation last year after 10 years but has now returned as a vice president of business development. The corporation’s specialty is crafting joint venture agreements with companies doing business on Tahltan traditional territory. The joint ventures take the form of a blend of Tahltan people and the specific skill set of the company. There are nearly 30 such joint ventures now in place, covering everything from camp services to drilling to air support. “Fifteen, 20 years down the road we see a

lot more monetary benefits to the Tahltan Nation,” said Adsit. “Our long term goal is to really diversify into more full-time employment.” The list of projects within Tahltan territory either completed or about to be completed includes B.C. Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line, the largest of the three run-of-river projects being built by AltaGas and the Red Chris copper mine belonging to Imperial Metals. “Now with joint ventures people can see what we are doing,” said Adsit. “Nearly everybody who wants a job, has a job. It may not be zero, but it is close to zero,” said Adsit on unemployment within the Tahltan territory. “You are going to see more aboriginal businesses. The money will stay in the area. We’re really pushing education,” he added. “I can see it happening here in the aboriginal community – to get something going where we can all work togeth-


BILL ADSIT from the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation.

er.” Adsit was appointed to the BC Hydro board of directors last December. “I am honoured to be named to the board of

BC Hydro and look forward to working with my fellow directors to oversee the implementation of BC Hydro’s long-term vision of ‘Reliable Power at Low

Cost for Generations,’” said Adsit at the time of his appointment. “I see this appointment as a tremendous opportunity to continue to strengthen and de-

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June 2014

Stable jobs climate goal of corporation


ITH ANNUAL revenues in the $30 million range, assets of close to $90 million and, depending upon levels of activity, as many as 400 people employed directly or indirectly, the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation has established itself as an economic force in the northwestern region of B.C. Founded in 1985, headquartered in Dease Lake and owned by the Tahltan Nation, it acts as the economic development arm of the Tahltan with a clear goal, explains newly-installed president Garry Merkel. “If there’s activity in the Tahltan traditional territory, then the Tahltan should benefit,” Merkel says. That position also reinforces Tahltan occupation, use and jurisdiction within its traditional territory, Merkel continues. “Going into business was a natural fit for us. You could call it the modern way of defending our territory by expressing it on the business side,” he said. Through joint ventures

Garry Merkel established with companies such as Bear Creek Contracting and Bandstra Transportation, the development corporation provides employees for everything from camp catering to first aid services to heavy equipment operating. Employment through the development corporation comes either directly from the corporation or through the joint ventures. “It really depends upon what the situation is, whether it is ourselves or through a partner,” said Merkel. The scope and size of

economic development within the northwest and within Tahltan traditional territory has dramatically increased employment in the past several years. The list of projects in which the development corporation has played a role over the years takes in every major mine development from Eskay Creek several decades ago to NovaGold’s Galore Creek project in the past decade to the nearlycompleted Red Chris copper mine owned by Imperial Metals. It’s also been a key player in the three run-of-river power projects along the Iskut River belonging to AltaGas. The corporation was also heavily involved in the line clearing and associated work connected to BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line. “We’re in a position where there is a positive employment climate,” said Merkel. “There’s not may places in Canada where you can say that [about aboriginal communities].”


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June 2014

You name it, he’s been there


T 25 years of age, heavy equipment operator Kelso Marion has worked on nearly every major industrial project within Tahltan traditional territory in the northwestern corner of the province over the past seven years. Beginning at 18, Marion, who grew up in Dease Lake and who now lives in Terrace, drove a road packer at NovaGold’s Galore Creek copper and gold project before massive cost overruns halted that project. Since then his work list has included the Forrest Kerr run-ofriver project, the largest of the three being built using Iskut River water by Calgary-based AltaGas, and the Red Chris copper mine being built by Imperial Metals of Vancouver. Both will tie into the Northwest Transmission Line. Lately he’s been working on the power line that extends north


KELSO MARION is a heavy duty equipment operator employed by the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation on large industrial projects within Tahltan traditional territory. of where BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line stops at the

Bob Quinn substation on Hwy37 North. This extension is to connect

the Red Chris mine owned by Imperial Metals to the substation.

“It’s what I always wanted to do,” says Marion of working as a

heavy equipment operator. “My Dad’s done it.

Our whole family has done it,” he said.

Cont’d Page 17

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From Page 16

Camp life goes with the job in the north Marion began his heavy equipment operator career by running a packer which packs down a road surface, and a rock truck. “As you gain experience, you move up to an excavator and a grader where I am now, the two top machines. At 23, I was running an excavator at AltaGas,” says Marion of the Forrest Kerr run-of-river project now being finished by the Calgary-based energy company. It’s not the easiest of work but Marion says he enjoys the challenge. He took an operator’s course in Dease Lake through Northern Lights College involving two weeks of theory in a classroom and two weeks of hands on training. Northern Lights College calls northeastern B.C. home but it also has centres in Atlin, in the far northwestern portion of the province, and Dease Lake. One change Marion has seen over the years is an increased emphasis on health

and safety. “We have regular safety meetings. It’s nice to see they’re watching out for the workers,” he said. That follows a general increase on safety and health issues on larger industrial projects. Life on a northwestern industrial project – most are in remote locations – means living in camp two weeks at a time with 12-hour shifts beginning at 6 a.m. followed by two weeks out. Unlike camps of past years, a modern day industrial camp contains all of the amenities one would find at home. “You have your own room where you can go at the end of the day and shut the door. There’s cable TV, internet, Wifi,” said Marion. The food at the camp he’s staying at now, called Willow Ridge, is probably the best he’s experienced. “After working all day it’s nice to come back to good food, a fixed bed. It’s a home away from home.” Marion works with a reg-

ular crew and is one of several hundred Tahltan employed at projects within Tahltan territory through the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation (TNDC), which is the business arm of the Tahltan nation. “I have lots of relatives with TNDC. When you get back to camp, the whole table’s full of people you grew up with,” he says. The scope and pace of work in the region keeps Marion and others closer to home, something that hasn’t always been the case. When the work in the territory was more seasonal, Marion would drive hours for winter employment as a labourer in the Fort Nelson area. “Now the work here is year-round and that’s nice,” he said. Marion’s advice for young people interested in an industrial career is simple: “Go get your operating certificate. Get your Class 3 and work hard. I try to better myself every year.”

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Transmission line revived economy


or the past several years it would have been a rare day if someone out and about had not spotted at least one of the scores of powder-blue Valard Construction pickups travelling along Hwy16 or Hwy37 North. At peak construction of B.C. Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line in 2013, its prime contractor had close to 500 company employees and those working for subcontractors based from Terrace and Kitsumkalum in the south to Bob Quinn on Hwy37 North in the north. The result is a 287kV transmission line running 344 kilometre north of B.C. Hydro’s Skeena Substation south of Terrace to a newly-finished substation at Bob Quinn. Connecting to that substation is a line to feed in power from three AltaGas run-ofriver projects to the west and a line running north to provide power to the Red Chris copper

mine owned by Imperial Metals. Valard president Adam Budzinski said the line was built through some of the most challenging geographic conditions in the country. “The project team regularly encounters heavy snows, avalanches, swollen rivers and icy gulches,” he said of construction. “As well, [the] transmission path crossed or was near sensitive environmental areas and five major rivers, including the Skeena River, the Bell River, and the Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park. Also, Valard had to take extra precautions not to disturb the region’s wildlife and fish, including grizzly bears, birds of prey, and schools of spawning salmon.” In all, 1,092 steel towers were installed and 2,100 kilometres of conductor wire strung. Because of the geography and despite building 200 kilometes of new access road, Valard relied on a heavy-lift


HELICOPTER CREW delicately maneuvers conductor line into place at one of the taller transmission towers.

helicopter to transport towers to their foundation locations. “The towers had to

be pre-constructed and airlifted to their foundation sites by helicopters. As well, at certain

points the line spans in excess of 1,000 metres so helicopters also played a crucial role

in stringing conductor wire,” said Budzinski. The transmission line arrived at exactly

the right time for a region hit hard by a declining forest industry.

Cont’d Page 19

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June 2014


From Page 18

Transmission line revived economy At a cost estimated between $726 million and $736 million with approximately $100 million of that going to First Nations for line clearing work, the project helped revive the regional economy. Valard’s business plan as proposed to BC Hydro called for hiring 50 per cent of its workforce locally, said Budzinski. “At peak construction, Valard employed up to 345 local workers. This included employing 165 local aboriginal workers, including members of local First Nations bands Metlakatla, Kitsumkalum, Kitselas and Lax Kw’alaams, Gitxsan, and Tahltan, and the Nisga’a Lisims Nation,” he said. Workers hired from the region have since had the opportunity to work on Valard projects elsewhere.

The length of the line and the work involved meant Valard either constructed or purchased five work camps along the route. The most southern one, at Kitsumkalum, is on land leased from the Kitsumkalum First Nation. It was engineered so that when the portable accommodation buildings are removed, the electrical and other services that were installed will remain to be used again. Although complex, the Northwest Transmission Line is comparable to other larger projects undertaken by Valard which has its headquarters in Edmonton. The company built a 180-kilometre, 500 kilovolt double-circuit transmission line for the Ontario government’s Hydro One, finishing it in May 2012, seven

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months head of schedule. In total, the Bruce to Milton Transmission Project called for 720 steel lattice towers and 4,700 kilometres of conductor wire. Although Valard will be done with the Northwest Transmission Line, it will continue to have a small office in Terrace. “Northwest B.C. will be the economic generator for the province over the next 10 to 15 years,” said Budzinski. “Valard will continue to support and bid on projects in the region, building on the experiences of and expertise of NTL and other capital projects in B.C., and on the partnerships we established with local businesses, municipalities, the region’s First Nations and the Nisga’a Lisims Nation, and industry partners like BC Hydro.”


HEAVY LIFT helicopter lowers a body segment of a transmission line into place. Remote locations made the use of helicopters mandatory to get the job done.

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June 2014

Mine to use transmission line power


mperial Metals’ Red Chris Mine is nearing completion. The copper-gold mine is located about 80 kilometres south of Dease Lake, in the traditional territory of the Tahltan people. Red Chris’ mine reserve is 301 million tonnes of .36 tonnes per gram of copper and .27 tonnes per gram of gold. At a rate of 30,000 tonnes per day of ore, the life of the mine is expected to be about 28 years, said Steve Robertson, vice president of corporate development for Imperial Metals. That reserve is just the tip of the iceberg, Robertson said of the copper and gold resources that are in the area. “The resource that we have there is giant in comparison to the reserve we have,” he said. “There’s a lot of mineralization we’ve identified that’s not in the reserve. We haven’t come anywhere close to fully exploring this area.” The construction of the mine is on schedule


A MASSIVE vehicle dwarfs workers at the Red Chris mine site. It and others will be used to haul ore.

and construction continues on the 93-kilometre extension to the Northwest Transmission Line. About 650

people have been involved in the building of the mine and another 300 have been working on the power line all

winter. Throughout the project, Imperial Metals has made engagement with the Tahltan people a pri-


ority on the Red Chris project, Robertson said. In the exploration phase, about 50 to 70 per cent of their non-

technical staff was Tahltan. In January of 2013, Imperial Metals began consultation with the

Tahltan Nation, to develop an Impact and Benefits Agreement (IBA).

Cont’d Page 21


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June 2014

From Page 20


Mine is to emphasize local labour To date, there have been 11 community meetings between the two parties to try to find a mutually beneficial way to move forward. The IBA will include financial benefits, jobs, training and education opportunities and community support. “It’s a very all-encompassing agreement that will take a look at the relationship between the company and the community for the long term,” Robertson said. “We’ll make every effort, to not only employ as many Tahltan as we can at the project, but we’re also going to make sure we try to supply them with the opportunities to train and get the education that would be beneficial to help them get in the door and then to advance in the mining operation as well. We’ll really be relying on them as the core of our workforce for the life of the mine.” The mine will be commissioned in Au-


WORKERS IN the final stages of installation of mill components in the main process building at the Red Chris mine.

gust and commercial production will happen before the end of the year. Once Red Chris is up and running, there will be about 270 full-time employees. Robertson said he thinks most po-

sitions can be filled by B.C. residents. “I don’t think we’ll have to go out of province to fill the jobs,” he said. “We’re going to have a British Columbian workforce. We’ll hire as many Tahltan as

possible and the local communities will supply a lot of the workforce that’s required. “The more local your workforce is, the better off you are.” Positions that need to be filled include:

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electricians, heavy-duty mechanics, welders, millwrights, assayers, surveyors, geologists, truck drivers, excavator operators, shovel and bulldozer operators and administrative staff – reception, payroll and

accounting clerks. “We pretty much need one of everything at this point,” Robertson said. Red Chris will have an official grand opening ceremony once the mine gets to the commercial production

stage, likely in October or November. “We’re very proud of our crews and the work they’ve done. Mine construction is not an easy task—very complex, very difficult. They’ve done an admirable job.”

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June 2014

Company to generate clean power


T COULD rightly be called the quietest megaproject in northwestern B.C. history – $1 billion being spent to develop three run-of-river power generating facilities using water from the Iskut River and its tributaries. The quiet aspect may be due to the remote location of the projects, away from more populated centres. But the location, off of Hwy37 North in Tahltan traditional territory, has been the scene of four years of construction activity employing upwards of 350 people at a time, notes Dan Woznow, a vice president of Calgarybased AltaGas, the project’s owner. The largest of three – Forrest Kerr, now at the completion stage – will generate 195 megawatts of power, enough for 70,000 homes, he says. “We’re calling it one of the largest projects of its kind in North America,” said Woznow of Forrest Kerr valued at $725 million.


AERIAL PHOTO shows the intake for the Forrest Kerr run-of-river power project owned by AltaGas.

Volcano Creek at 16 megawatts is due for completion late this year and McClymont Creek at 66 megawatts

is to be finished by the middle of 2015, rounding out the $1 billion AltaGas investment. All three will be

connected via a transmission line to BC Hydro’s nearby Bob Quinn Substation and then, thanks to the pro-


vincial crown corporation’s Northwest Transmission Line, power will flow into the provincial grid.

A set of Forrest Kerr project statistics assembled by Woznow provides an idea of the size of just that facility:

* The carving out of an underground powerhouse containing nine turbines.

Cont’d Page 23


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June 2014

From Page 22


Power deal good for sixty years * At 30 metres high, the powerhouse is the height-equivalent of a nine-story building. * At 158 metres long, the powerhouse is approximately the length of one-and-a-half football fields. * One million cubic metres of material was excavated. * 50,000 cubic metres of concrete was poured. “The only option we had was to go underground because of the configuration of the land,” explained Woznow of the design required so that water went through the turbines with enough force to generate electricity. Contracts were let to 170 suppliers and 79 of those are from the region, says Woznow. “And I’m happy to say that 78 per cent of the expenditures have been within the Canadian supply chain.” In terms of local hire, depending upon construction activity, 18-30 per cent of the workers were Tahltan, Woznow said, noting AltaGas has worked hard to build and maintain a relationship with the Tahltan, including contracts related to construction, scholarships for students, mentoring Tahltan for jobs with AltaGas, revenue sharing and even the potential for the Tahltan to take on an equity position. Earnings for AltaGas, once all

three projects are finished and producing power, and before relevant expenses such as taxes are paid, are estimated at $100 million a year. The power sales contract AltaGas has with BC Hydro is for 60 years and its water licences are for 40 years, meaning they will have to be renewed. AltaGas is the third owner of the Iskut project concepts, but the first to advance construction, buying them in 2008 from a subsidiary of NovaGold, the company which owns half of the Galore Creek copper and gold development project nearby. NovaGold in turn had purchased the projects from Coast Mountain Hydro Corporation which is credited with laying out the groundwork for what is now under construction. Woznow said acquiring the Iskut power projects in 2008 fit with the company’s decision to diversify. “Renewables are one of the three pillars of the company’s business,” said Woznow of a division within AltaGas which contains facilities generating power using water, wind and biomass. AltaGas also has another presence in the region through its ownership of natural gas distributor Pacific Northern Gas. Through that, it hopes to play a role in exporting liquefied natural gas and other liquids.

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WORKERS WATCH one of the nine large turbines located in the underground powerhouse for the AltaGas Forrest Kerr project is being maneuvered.


He now owns a trucking outfit


he right-ofway clearing for B.C. H y d r o ’s Northwest Transmission Line was an opportunity for Gingolxbased entrepreneur Steven Doolan Jr. to start his own company called Doolan Trucking. The business sprang out of BC Hydro’s need to salvage wood along the right-of-way as it passed through Nisga’a lands.

Doolan had been in the trucking business for several years, and the large logging operation allowed him to do work near to home, driving to Nass Camp to pick up loads of lumber and truck them to locations in the Nass and Terrace. “I didn’t have to stay in camp. I stayed in home here and went right up to camp. Just went from Nass Camp to those areas to drop the wood,” said Doolan.

Originally Doolan had been a fisherman like his father, who had helped him buy his first boat, but the fishing economy was struggling in the 1990s so he changed industries. “I owned two gill netters and when the fishing got slow I sold both the boats and started working construction. Did my Class One and started driving truck for Greenville.”

thriving. “When you improve the quality of life of the citizens, it has an overall positive effect on all aspects of their lives,” said Mckay. “We are very fortunate that we still have a very strong culture, and the language is still intact.” Mckay credits BC

Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line for catalysing job creation and training programs in the Nass, as well as paving the way for future business negotiations over development that is the goal of the Nisga’a treaty ratified back in 2000.


June 2014

Cont’d Page 25

Power line adds to area stability


or the Nisga’a people of the Nass Valley economic development means more than mere money. To Nisga’a Lisims Government chair Kevin Mckay, responsible resource development also plays a vital role in keeping the culture

Cont’d Page 25


STEVEN DOOLAN Jr. from Gingolx in the Nass Valley now has his own trucking company.

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June 2014

From Page 24


Line stimulates jobs “May 11 [was] the 14th anniversary of the final agreement and everyone will recall that our then- president Dr. Joseph Gosnell proclaimed proudly on that day that the Nisga’a nation is open for business,” said Mckay. The Nisga’a treaty outlines a framework for working with the Canadian government for programs such as training, said McKay, and this initiative came to fruition with programs through Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and the Nisga’a’s own recently created training arm called NEST (Nisga’a Employment, Skills and Training). According to McKay, the

Northwest Transmission Line has been a driver of these programs, and the mining projects that it will power up offer a continuing presence of major employers looking for local workers. “We always knew that it was going to provide access to other opportunities to not only us but the whole region,” said McKay of the line, adding that the negotiations with BC Hydro was “exactly what the Nisga’a Final Agreement was designed to do.” “We now have, under our treaty negotiation for the delivery of employment and skills, training for programs offered primarily by the federal government,” he continued. “Through that office

we are able to coordinate these training opportunities and employment opportunities to connect with interested individuals.” McKay also said that work and training associated with the Northwest Transmission Line is visible in rising employment rates. “Prior to the northwest transmission line, the statistics were pretty concerning in terms of employment opportunities,” said McKay. “But more to the point, how many of the able-bodied employable people were out there looking for jobs and training. Obviously the Northwest Transmission Line has had a positive impact on those numbers.”

From Page 24

Trucking work grows His experience in the trucking industry since then paved the way for him starting his own business in October 2013. “I started my own company and finally got my first load on Sept. 30,” he said, adding that he has an agreement with Nisga’a Lisims Forestry and Alcan Forest Products. “I started Oct. 2 and I went right up until January hauling for the transmission line and all the wood is done from there so far. I would have to say there were 300 loads easily I took out of there,” he said.

While Doolan said finding work wasn’t a problem for him before the transmission line, he is hopeful that jobs will continue to flow from it and offer local opportunities to his people. “I do see the job market improving,” he said. He said one opportunity he sees is in First Aid. “A lot of the locals here have their Level 3 and I was trying to guide them into purchasing their own First Aid units, and they could make a little more money and add on to it as they go. I see that as a good opportunity for our people.”

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■■ Food’s up! GOOD FOOD is mandatory at work camps and, in this photo from 2012 taken at the Valard camp at Kitsumkalum, one of five camps set up along the Northwest Transmission Line route, Edna Green from Terrace and Jaimee Beaupre from Nelson helped make sure the cuisine was up to par.

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June 2014

Power line work opens more doors



FALLER KERBY Good was more than busy working on clearing the right-of-way for BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line. Other large projects now beckon.

Power line deal a first for Kitselas

orking on the Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) let Kerby Good of Kitsumkalum use the skills he’d learned in forestry and opened up many more jobs for him. He worked for Cypress Forest Consultants, doing the layout stage for the line which runs north of Terrace to a new sub station at Bob Quinn on Hwy 37 North. That work involved sorting out how much room is needed for the line and how many trees need to be cleared to make way for it. Because the line running from tower to tower doesn’t swing much in the wind in certain points, less needs to be cleared than in places where the wires hang lower and will swing more in the wind. It means the rightof-way isn’t in a straight line but is

wider in some places and narrower in others with the widths alternating depending upon terrain. Of the five sections of the lay out work along the 344 kilometre route, Good worked on the first, third and fourth ones. He worked on the line from 2010 to 2012. Good afterward worked for Jock’s Excavating doing right-of-way clearing and road construction. With major construction on the line now finished, Kerby is falling clearing on other jobs. Good says potential projects such as the Pacific Trails Pipeline to feed a liquefied natural gas plant at Kitimat will provide more work. “It was definitely a foot in the door doing transmission line work,” Good said, adding he moved back from Calgary, Alberta for the job. “It was a transition and opened up a lot of opportunities for me,” he said.


or the Kitselas First Nation, work attributed to BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line (NTL) wasn’t as much compared to other projects. But it was the first project in terms of direct contract awards and benefits, says Kitselas chief councillor Joe Bevan. And while details of the benefit agreement, which included clearing right of way, with BC Hydro remain confidential, Bevan confirmed the results. “Kitselas Forests Products delivered the work on time, on budget, and employed a number of Kitselas members,” said Bevan. The Kitselas First Nation was among the first First Nations along the Northwest Transmission Line route to sign an impact benefits agreement with BC Hydro. That took place in November 2010 and other First Nations as well as the Nisga’a Nation signed their agreements in subsequent years. Bevan said the Kitselas First Nation takes a policy-based approach to projects and proponents who wish to utilize Kitselas traditional territory for their projects. “We look at each project from two perspectives – one, is this a good land use decision? Does it have the potential to do harm to the Kitselas traditional territory and Kitselas’ interests and how will any of these impacts be avoided or mitigated? Secondly, does it have the potential to deliver benefits to the community that offset these impacts? Only after these questions are answered will Kitselas determine whether a particular project can be supported,” he said. Taking that approach has meant they’ve had a largely positive experience dealing with industry, he said. “They kind of know where you’re coming from,” Bevan said of potential proponents, noting that the policy is something of a living document which is reviewed as necessary. “We’ve thrown a structure to it, we have a stewardship policy that needs to be adhered to, we also have an economic development policy that we’ve developed and that has to be followed as well. “You have to engage with the First Nations, and when you put a structure to that engagement, it works – we’ve proven that to ourselves,” he said. The Kitselas are also involved in the Pacific Trails Pipeline and at the Skeena Industrial Development Park.


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Special Features - June 18, 2014  

Section Z of the June 18, 2014 edition of the Terrace Standard

Special Features - June 18, 2014  

Section Z of the June 18, 2014 edition of the Terrace Standard