Hay River South
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Premier, the Cabinet and the Ordinary Members of this House have all been working hard to bring economic development into the Northwest Territories. One of the best possibilities in many decades to improve the economy of the South Slave is the potential of the value-added processing of rare earths at Pine Point, and it’s up to $500 million of investment.
Mr. Speaker, in July of last year the GNWT lost the investment of Fortune Minerals Hydromet plant and 80 value-added jobs when they were courted by the Saskatchewan government with their low power rates and incentives.
Unlike some previous mines, Avalon has started early and worked hard with aboriginal governments and the GNWT to try to find ways to retain value-added in the NWT. Recently, the Premier responded positively to requests from Avalon Rare Metals and the standing committee, that the GNWT would work constructively to pursue the possibility of the availability of competitively priced power and transportation infrastructure.
On Monday, February 22nd , the chair of the
Northwest Territories Power Corporation states that Avalon Rare Metals is not going to get a deal on power. He is quoted in News/North as saying, “Avalon is not going to get cheaper power than anybody else in the South Slave system. What Saskatchewan sells power for is really not relevant to us, simply because we have to recover our costs of service.”
I was shocked, Mr. Speaker, seeing the comments of the chair of NTPC contradicting our Premier, the will of its shareholder and this Legislature. In short, the chair of NTPC threw ice water on the hopes of using the surplus energy from the Taltson dam to leverage this once in a lifetime opportunity to develop the economy in the South Slave.
Mr. Speaker, the reverberations of this unauthorized communication and action go far beyond the borders of the Northwest Territories. You have to believe that the Premier of Saskatchewan and the chair of SaskPower were delighted to hear this comment. What are the investors at Avalon to think when they read that all of Avalon’s efforts to find ways to retain value added in the NWT are publicly dismissed by the NTPC board chair?
I seek unanimous consent to conclude my statement.
---Unanimous consent granted.