The federal government has approved a 40-year natural gas export licence for the proposed Woodfibre LNG plant near Squamish, B.C.

The announcement was made by Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr during a speech at the Canadian Embassy in China. 

The $1.6 billion LNG plant planned for the site of the old Woodfibre pulp mill is expected to be up and running in 2020. It will process natural gas shipped by pipeline from Northern B.C. into liquefied natural gas for export to Asian markets.

"We know there is tremendous demand for natural gas, especially in the fast-growing countries of Asia," said Carr. 

Woodfibre LNG Limited is owned by Singapore-based Royal Golden Eagle Pte. Ltd.  

The project secured federal and First Nations' environmental approval last year.