The mining industry in B.C. is applauding the completion of a 350-kilometre power line partway up the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, saying it will help open up an area the size of France to mining development.
The Northwest Transmission Line narrows the gap between the main power grids in B.C. and Yukon but the distance between the two is still about 800 kilometres. Yukon Energy has in the past ruled out linking them as too expensive, at least for now.
A vice-president with the Association for Mineral Exploration BC says the $746 million power line along the Highway 37 corridor could lead to the development of 10 mines as it greatly reduces the cost.
"[A] lower or more feasible cost of power is much more feasible for mines especially when you have high capital costs that are very common in mine developments these days," says Glen Wonders.
Wonders has not heard of any plans to push the line farther north.
"I'm sure there's many mining companies that would like to see that extend further. I have heard no definitive plans of that at this point in time," he said.