Muskrat line could go to coast: premier
Voisey's Bay mine cited as key reason to consider line
Premier Kathy Dunderdale says a power line from the planned Lower Churchill generating station could stretch to Labrador's coast, partly in order to fuel expansion at the Voisey's Bay nickel mine.
"We hope to be able to bring a power line to the north coast because of the development at Voisey's Bay, and the fact that we will be able to square costs," Dunderdale told the house of assembly Tuesday, as government again came under Opposition attack for not providing enough local benefits from the planned hydroelectrical plant at Muskrat Falls.
Dunderdale said Muskrat will not affect people in nearby Happy Valley-Goose Bay nor in Labrador West although she opened the door in the clearest language yet a line to the coast, even though the idea has been described as extraordinarily expensive.
"Hopefully, we will be able to do [that]," Dunderdale told the house.
Later, speaking with reporters, Dunderdale laid out more details about the idea.
"[It] looks very good, in fact. We hope that [Vale] will do underground mining at Voisey's Bay. To do that, they will need a power supply," she said.
"If that happens, then it's very easy for us as a government to consider running lines out to Makkovik and to Hopedale, and that's something that is very positive ... and has a real prospect of actually happening."
Liberal Leader Yvonne Jones, who has sharply criticized the Muskrat Falls proposal, said Dunderdale's comments mark a shift on the government side.
"Now we are finally trying to get somewhere," she said.
"The government opposite is starting to open their eyes and realizing that they are reaping power benefits in Labrador and giving nothing back," said Jones, adding that government should also consider a power line to southern Labrador and noting that commercial customers there may pay the highest rates in the province.
Some Innu officials have asked that the Muskrat Falls development include a power link to Natuashish, the Innu reserve on Labrador's northern coast.