Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Enough Shipper Pledges to Proceed

Keystone XL Pipeline Gets Enough Shipper Pledges to Proceed

By  Meenal Vamburkar  and  Kevin Orland

January 18, 2018, 7:18 AM CST Updated on January 18, 2018, 10:46 AM CST


Trans Mountain pipe

TransCanada Corp. has enough customer interest to go forward with the Keystone XL oil pipeline, if the company decides to build it.

The Calgary-based company now has “approximately 500,000 barrels per day of firm, 20-year commitments,” according to a statement on Thursday. The pipeline operator will continue to secure additional volumes.

The announcement marks yet another hurdle overcome for the project, first proposed in 2008. In November, TransCanada received state approval in Nebraska to construct the conduit there along an alternate route, a decision that may spur added legal action by foes who say the new path hasn’t received the same review as the original plan.

“We view the firm commitments as positive for the project,” David Galison, an analyst at Cannacord Genuity Corp., said in a note. “However, the project still has many hurdles to overcome in order for construction to begin.”

TransCanada hasn’t yet officially green-lighted the project and is still working toward a final investment decision, spokesman Terry Cunha said in an emailed statement. The company said in its statement it is working with landowners along the new path to obtain the necessary easements. Construction preparation has begun, with primary work potentially coming in 2019.

Keystone XL would be a victory for Canadian oil sands producers who are facing transportation bottlenecks getting their crude to market. The pipeline would ship 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Hardisty, Alberta, through Montana and South Dakota to Nebraska, where it would connect to TransCanada’s existing Keystone system that carries crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast hub of refineries and export terminals.

“Over the last 12 months, the Keystone XL project has achieved several milestones that move us significantly closer to constructing this critical energy infrastructure for North America,” Russ Girling, TransCanada’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

Keystone XL drew fierce opposition from environmentalists concerned about climate change and landowners along the path in Nebraska. Former President Barack Obama rejected TransCanada’s application in 2015, saying that it wasn’t in the national interest. That decision was reversed by the Trump administration.

TransCanada shares were little changed on Thursday’s news, down 0.2 percent to C$59.71 at 11:28 a.m. in Toronto. The stock eked out a 1.1 percent gain in 2017.

— With assistance by Debarati Roy


Saskatchewan sees golden potential for precious metals mining and more

Saskatchewan sees golden potential for precious metals mining and more


Published on: January 8, 2018 | Last Updated: January 8, 2018 1:52 PM PST

Seabee gold

The Santoy gold deposit at the Seabee Gold Operation in northern Saskatchewan attracted Vancouver-based mining company SSR Mining, which purchased the operation in 2016. 

SSR Mining may be a Vancouver-headquartered company, but lately its attention has been firmly focused on a large stretch of land in the middle of the wilderness in northern Saskatchewan.

That’s because the mid-tier mining company with two other operations in Nevada and Argentina sees a golden opportunity in the prairie province — literally.

Its recent purchase of Saskatchewan’s only gold mining operation speaks to SSR Mining’s confidence of what lies beneath the Land of Living Skies.

The company acquired Claude Resources, and with this the Seabee Gold Operation, for approximately C$337 million, the largest single investment in precious metal mining in the province’s history.

“The previous company had operated the Seabee mine for about 25 years,” says SSR Mining’s president and chief executive officer Paul Benson. “The first 23 years were quite routine, mining lower grade deposits.”

But then exploration efforts uncovered a nearby deposit of much higher quality gold ore, and that caught the attention of SSR Mining, prompting the friendly takeover.

Today, the company is mining the higher-grade Santoy deposit, just a short trucking distance from the original Seabee mine and mill complex.

“By far the majority of the gold is in the Santoy deposit,” he says, adding the operation currently has total mineral resources of over one million ounces of gold.

Saskatchewan is a heavyweight in the mining world. Being the No. 1 producer of potash globally and No. 2 for uranium, the province has a long history of mining innovation while providing highly skilled people adept at extracting minerals from the earth.

Yet the province has largely flown under the radar when it comes to base and precious metals and other valuable minerals, including diamonds. That, however, is changing rapidly as exploration and mining companies turn their attention to the province’s bounty underground, especially after SSR Mining made its big splash last year.

“We believe we have significant unrealized potential for other mineral commodities such as base and precious metals and also diamonds,” says Gary Delaney, chief geologist at the Ministry of the Economy for the Government of Saskatchewan.

That’s in large part why the province has devoted considerable resources to help interested mining firms explore its potential.

Efforts include scanning millions of pages of historic industry technical reports and maps, as well as geoscience publications prepared by the provincial government, over several decades. All of this information is available through the government’s recently launched Mining and Petroleum GeoAtlas: “A one-stop shop to get all the technical geological information for the industry,” says Delaney.

It’s this kind of support that exploration and mining firms find helpful when looking for investment opportunities.

“Rather than reinvent the wheel, companies want to build on existing data and these resources provide an important foundation.”

“With precious metals, there have been several past gold mines in what’s known as the La Ronge Gold Belt,” Delaney says, although their size and scale have been modest by today’s standards.

Moreover, SSR Mining’s Seabee operation has produced more than 1.3 million ounces of gold since it was founded in 1991.

A little farther east, at the border with Manitoba, the Creighton/Flin Flon area hosts some  of Canada’s richest deposits of base metals — copper and zinc — which also contain significant concentrations of gold and/or silver.

“The largest of those ore bodies, the Flin Flon mine, which straddled the border of Saskatchewan and Manitoba, not only had significant base metal, but the Saskatchewan part of the deposit contained about 3.6 million ounces of gold,” Delaney says.

In fact, the first gold discovery in the province occurred just southwest of Creighton in 1916 near Amisk Lake. The potential bounty in the ground, however, doesn’t just include precious and base metals.

Potentially rich deposits of diamonds near Prince Albert in central Saskatchewan have attracted interest from large mining multinationals.

However, the region generating the most buzz these days has been in and around the Seabee and Santoy mines.

“It’s not just the million ounces in resources we’ve identified so far,” Benson says.

SSR Mining has teamed up with another company, Eagle Plains Resources, to explore the 34,000-hectare Fisher project south of its Santoy property.

Should their efforts bear fruit, they will benefit from an incentive program previously put in place by the province to reduce the cost of development, by offering a 10-year royalty holiday on new base and precious metal mines.

Delaney says activity thus far is merely scratching the surface (pun intended).

“We’re frequently going to places like China, actively promoting investment opportunities here,” Delaney says.

“That’s because we feel we have significant unrealized potential in base and precious metals, and we would love to see that potential realized someday soon.”


Vale closes sale of fertilizer business to Mosaic for $1.4 billion – includes Kronau project in Saskatchewan

Vale closes sale of fertilizer business to Mosaic for $1.4 billion

Cecilia Jamasmie

Jan 9, 2018

Vale mill

The sale of its fertilizer business to Mosaic is part of Vale’s strategy to cut debt and focus on its core businesses. (Image courtesy of Vale SA.)

Brazil’s Vale (NYSE:VALE), the world’s largest iron ore and nickel miner, has officially closed the sale of its fertilizer business to US-based Mosaic Co. (NYSE:MOS), the No.1 producer of phosphate fertilizer, in a deal worth about $1.4 billion, considerably less than the $2.5bn originally estimated.

The transaction, part of Vale’s strategy to cut debt and focus on its core businesses, excludes the TIPLAM port, located in Brazil’s south-eastern Santos city and which was originally included in the deal. The Minnesota-based company, however, has been granted the right to use that terminal.

Back in December 2016, when the deal was first announced, Mosaic had agreed to pay the highest amount for Vale’s stake in Peru’s Bayovar mine, the firm’s Kronau potash project in Canada and most of its phosphate assets in Brazil, including the terminal, but excluding the nitrogen and phosphate assets in Cubatão, which will be bought by Norwegian chemical company Yara for $255 million.

The sale ends Vale’s supremacy on the phosphate market in Brazil, which in turn is the planet’s fifth-biggest user of fertilizer.

Fort a la Corne Saskatchewan Diamond Project – Sonic Overburden Drilling Completed

Star-Orion South Diamond Project – Sonic Overburden Drilling Completed

Stock Symbol: SGF: TSX

Shore Gold FALC aerial

SASKATOON, Jan. 8, 2017 /CNW/ – George H. Read, P. Geo., Senior Vice President Exploration and Development of Shore Gold Inc. (“Shore” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that Shore and Rio Tinto Exploration Canada Inc. (“RTEC”) have completed a Sonic overburden drilling program, consisting of ten holes and some 1,205.5 metres of drilling (Table 1), on the Star Kimberlite. This geotechnical investigation of the overburden was completed, in close proximity (1.5 metres) to the core drilling, by Boart Longyear Inc., utilizing a Sonic drill rig. Detailed geotechnical logging of the core collected by the Sonic rig has been completed by Clifton Associates Ltd. The ten hole locations are in close proximity (10 to 15 metres) to previously collected underground bulk samples and past 48 inch large diameter drill (“LDD”) holes and include areas of significant intersections (80 – 110 metres) of the Early Joli Fou (“EJF”) Kimberlite, the principal economic unit of the Indicated Resources previously estimated by Shore for the Star Kimberlite in December 2015.

Table 1:  Summary of Sonic Overburden Drilling

Hole ID Hole Depth (m)
FALCS001 124.96
FALCS002 109.73
FALCS003 149.35
FALCS004 120.39
FALCS005 114.32
FALCS006 111.28
FALCS007 137.16
FALCS008 109.73
FALCS009 117.35
FALCS010 111.25
Total 1,205.52


Senior Vice President Exploration and Development, George Read, states: “This Sonic drilling investigation of the overburden above the kimberlite is an important precursor to a proposed mini-bulk sample drilling program scheduled to commence in 2018. The Sonic drill hole locations are in close proximity to the core holes, which will act as pilot holes for the upcoming program.”

The Star-Orion South Diamond Project is located in central Saskatchewan some 60 kilometres east of the city of Prince Albert. The Project is in close proximity to established infrastructure, including paved highways and the electrical power grid, which provide significant advantages for future mine development. The Technical Report on the Revised Resource Estimate for the Star – Orion South Diamond Project dated November 9, 2015 provided an updated Mineral Resource Estimate for the Star and Orion South kimberlite deposits: Indicated Mineral Resources of 393 million tonnes containing 55.4 million carats of diamonds at a weighted average price of US$210 per carat. In addition to the Indicated Mineral Resource Estimate, the Star and Orion South Kimberlites include Inferred Resources containing 11.5 million carats. Shore has granted RTEC an option to earn up to a 60% interest in the Fort à la Corne mineral properties (including the Project) on the terms and conditions contained in the Option Agreement (see SGF News Release dated June 23, 2017). Completion of the proposed 2018 sampling program (First Option) does not entitle RTEC to an interest in the Fort à la Corne mineral properties (including the Project).

All technical information in this press release has been prepared under the supervision of George Read, Senior Vice-President of Exploration and Development, Professional Geoscientist in the Provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia, and Mark Shimell, Project Manager, Professional Geoscientist in the Province of Saskatchewan, who are the Company’s “Qualified Persons” under the definition of NI 43-101.

Shore is a Canadian based corporation engaged in the acquisition, exploration and development of mineral properties. Shares of the Company trade on the TSX Exchange under the trading symbol “SGF”.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements as defined by certain securities laws, including the “safe harbour” provisions of Canadian securities legislation and the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking information is often, but not always, identified by the use of words such as “anticipate”, “believe”, “expect”, “plan”, “intend”, “forecast”, “target”, “project”, “guidance”, “may”, “will”, “should”, “could”, “estimate”, “predict” or similar words suggesting future outcomes or language suggesting an outlook. In particular, statements regarding Shore’s future operations, future exploration and development activities or other development plans constitute forward-looking statements. By their nature, statements referring to mineral reserves, mineral resources or TFFE constitute forward-looking statements.

Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to statements with respect to the geotechnical investigations and Shore and RTEC’s objectives for the ensuing year, including the proposed 2018 sampling program.

These forward-looking statements are based on Shore’s current beliefs as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to it and involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific.

Risks exist that forward-looking statements will not be achieved due to a number of factors including, but not limited to, developments in world diamond markets, changes in diamond prices, risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar and other currencies relative to the US dollar, changes in exploration, development or mining plans due to exploration results and changing budget priorities of Shore or its joint venture partners, the effects of competition in the markets in which Shore operates, the impact of changes in the laws and regulations regulating mining exploration, development, closure, judicial or regulatory judgments and legal proceedings, operational and infrastructure risks and the additional risks described in Shore’s most recently filed Annual Information Form, annual and interim MD&A. Shore’s anticipation of and success in managing the foregoing risks could cause actual results to differ materially from what is anticipated in such forward-looking statements.

Although management considers the assumptions contained in forward-looking statements to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, those assumptions may prove to be incorrect. When making decisions with respect to Shore, investors and others should not place undue reliance on these statements and should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. Unless required by applicable securities law, Shore does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that is made herein.

SOURCE Shore Gold Inc.

For further information: or (306) 664-2202,

This information is being distributed to you by / Cette information vous est transmise par : Shore Gold Inc.

224 – 4th Avenue SouthSuite 300 Suite 300, Saskatoon, SK, S7K 5M5, Canada



Released on January 5, 2018

December’s job numbers show Saskatchewan had the second highest percentage employment growth rate among the provinces between 2007 and 2017 and added 5,000 jobs in December, starting the year from a position of strength.

There have been 62,700 jobs created over the last decade in Saskatchewan, a 12.4 per cent increase, well above the national rate of 9.8 per cent.

Among the provinces, Saskatchewan had the fifth lowest annual average unemployment rate in 2017 at 6.3 per cent.  Nationally, the annual average unemployment rate was 6.3 per cent.

There was an average of 567,600 people employed in 2017, 900 fewer than in 2016.

“There are more than 60,000 more jobs today in Saskatchewan than there were 10 years ago,” Premier Brad Wall said.  “This has been a period of exceptional growth for our province, driven by businesses large and small.  Thanks to their efforts, there are more opportunities for Saskatchewan people to build a career and contribute to our community.  With our population continuing to grow, we are beginning a second decade of growth.  For Saskatchewan, the best is yet to come.”

Other 2017 highlights include:

  • Major year-over-year gains were reported for trade, up 3,800; manufacturing, up 2,300; and professional, scientific and technical services, up 2,100 compared to 2016.
  • Youth unemployment rate was 11.8 per cent, fourth lowest among the provinces.

On a month-over-month basis, there was an increase of 5,000 jobs (seasonally adjusted) between November 2017 and December 2017.  December 2017’s unemployment rate was 6.4 per cent, down from 6.6 per cent in December 2016.


For more information, contact:

James Parker
Executive Council
Phone: 306-787-1321

​New U.S. refining demand expected to spur Canadian heavy oil demand in 2018

New U.S. refining demand expected to spur Canadian heavy oil demand in 2018

By The Canadian Press

Jan. 4, 2018

oil project

CALGARY — A new forecast from Deloitte says demand for Canadian heavy oil will likely rise this year as shrinking volumes from Mexico and Venezuela open new opportunities to sell to U.S. refineries.

The accounting and consulting firm says the demand surge will work to overcome recently steeper price discounts received by Canadian producers due to pipeline outages that have stretched tight export transportation capacity.

The report forecasts the benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil price will average about US$55 per barrel in 2018, up from US$50.84 in 2017, supported by an anticipated renewal of production limits by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

It calculates that Western Canada Select, a blend of northern Alberta bitumen and lighter oil, will average C$46.40 per barrel this year.

Deloitte says the United States is increasing its light oil production, but it is also boosting oil exports to markets such as Asia.

It says Canada’s total bitumen production may for the first time exceed three million barrels per day this year as new projects like Suncor’s Fort Hills oilsands mine and smaller expansions at steam-driven oilsands operations come on line.

“Canadian oil prices lagged behind those in the United States during 2017 largely due to increased U.S. production and possible transportation difficulties getting Canadian oil into that market,” says Andrew Botterill, Deloitte’s oil and gas leader.

“But if Canada can take advantage of declining Venezuelan and Mexican exports to the U.S. and access some of its heavy oil refining capacity, the price differential between WCS and WTI should at least be moderate compared to the historical differential.”

Saskatchewan’s winter oil drilling season kicks off with a bang

Saskatchewan’s winter drilling season kicks off with a bang

60 rigs hit the frozen ground running in the best opening week in at least three years


JANUARY 4, 2018 09:19 PM

Rig locator Jan 2018
Crescent Point Energy had nine rigs working in close proximity southwest of Torquay.   Photo By Rig Locator

Estevan – Bang! Sixty rigs kicked off right at the start of the year.

With oil over US$60 WTI in the first week of the New Year, drilling in Saskatchewan took off. It takes a few days to get most rigs moving, but right off the hop, they’ve been firing up. By Jan. 4, sister publication Rig Locator ( listed 60 rigs working in the Land of Living Skies. That’s the highest level since the first week of March 2017.

The highest number of active drilling rigs in Saskatchewan over the past three years was March 1, 2017, with 76 rigs for a brief period.

Complete story here.

‘Eco-colonialism’: Rift grows between Indigenous leaders and green activists

‘Eco-colonialism’: Rift grows between Indigenous leaders and green activists

Indigenous communities say they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree

Claudia Cattaneo

Financial Post

Martin Louie.png

Martin Louie

With flowing long hair, stoic expression and tribal garb, Martin Louie, the hereditary chief of the Nadleh Whut’en First Nation in north-central British Columbia, more than looked and acted the part of an aggrieved leader in the epic fight against the Northern Gateway oilsands pipeline.

He was quoted in the campaign’s news releases, filed complaints to the United Nations and spoke defiantly to investors. Environmental group even described him as the “poster boy” for Indigenous opposition to Enbridge Inc.’s pipeline.

The $7-billion pipeline was eventually cancelled last year, but Louie didn’t actually want to sink the project. Lost in the heat of the public battle was that he really just wanted to win more money for his impoverished community than the “ridiculous” $70,000 a year being offered by the company.

Louie’s experience is indicative of a widening rift between Indigenous communities and activists over natural resources, particularly in British Columbia, the focal point of major green campaigns generously funded by U.S. interests to thwart oil and gas exports.

The campaigns consistently portray a united Indigenous anti-development front and allies of the green movement, but some Indigenous leaders are becoming alarmed that they could be permanently frozen out of the mainstream economy if resource projects don’t go ahead.

They said in interviews they’ve had enough of activists invading their lands, misleading them about their agendas, recruiting token members to front their causes, sowing mistrust and conflict, and using hard-line tactics against those who don’t agree.

“The best way to describe it is eco-colonialism,” said Ken Brown, a former chief of the Klahoose First Nation in southwestern B.C. “You are seeing a very pervasive awakening among these First Nations leaders about what is going on in the environmental community.”

For instance, Louie is now one of the leaders of the proposed $17-billion Eagle Spirit pipeline, a Northern Gateway alternative championed by First Nations.

“When I went after Enbridge we were trying to gain more benefits for major projects going through our country,” he said.

Word soon got out about his differences with Enbridge and he was approached by a handful of lawyers representing green organizations who promised him assistance and funding, Louie recalled.

Their partnership ended bitterly because the two sides had conflicting objectives. He wanted better benefits; the activists wanted the project to fail.

The eventual failure of Northern Gateway was just one of a series of tipping points in recent months that worry some Indigenous leaders.

There was also the demise of Pacific NorthWest LNG and Aurora LNG, as well as the continuing challenges faced by the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and other proposed LNG projects. These cancellations and obstacles are celebrated by activists, but also wiped out jobs and revenue for First Nations.

Eagle Spirit also faces difficulties. Led by Indigenous lawyer Calvin Helin and supported by First Nations along the proposed route through northern B.C., the project will collapse if the federal government goes ahead with a tanker ban that is making its way through Parliament.

The ban is related to the Great Bear Rainforest, which was created by the B.C. government last year to conserve a big part of the province’s northern and central coast.

Both initiatives are seen by greens as big achievements, but are disputed by First Nations such as the Lax Kw’alaams, who said they were advanced without proper consultation and prevent their members from making a living.

Brown’s experience with environmental activism started about a decade ago, when he was chief of his tribe and supported two run-of-river hydro projects.

The projects were attacked by groups such as Save Our Rivers and Western Canada Wilderness Committee for being harmful to fish habitat, and Brown’s band was criticized for being “sellouts and socially irresponsible people looking for the quick buck,” he said.

“What an onslaught it was. There was a high level of participation from people who had never been to the region … and they were all conveying the same narrative: ‘The sky is falling, keep your blood money, corporations are evil.’”

Brown, who now runs a consulting company, said similar tactics are used against other projects, too.

“If First Nations communities are willing to conform to the prescribed eco-narratives, they are going to get all kinds of accolades and praise, but if they don’t conform, it’s vitriolic hit pieces on these people,” he said.

Louie is still shaken by the backlash he experienced. After complaining to activists they were only using him to advance their cause, he said he was blackballed.

“Workers were spreading the word that I am not a good man, that I am there to ruin the environment, that I am making money on my own,” he said. “They were making me sound like I am taking millions from a lot of people. If I was in that position, I wouldn’t be struggling to pay for my car payments.”

Louie said he joined the Eagle Spirit project to achieve what he couldn’t with Northern Gateway: help his tribe become economically self-reliant.

Environmental organizations and Indigenous communities in recent years have found common cause in opposing some projects and in fighting the impacts of capitalism on the environment, said Dwight Newman, Canada research chair in Indigenous rights at the University of Saskatchewan.

A big reason is that Indigenous people have unique legal rights and by working with them, green groups are better able to block developments than if they relied on environmental grounds alone, he said.

Section 35 of Canada’s constitution states the Crown has a duty to consult with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities and, where it anticipates adverse impacts, to accommodate to the extent reasonably possible.

So far, the law has been used against development, but one of the unknowns is whether Indigenous communities will use it to pursue economic development and override the environmental laws that block projects such as Eagle Spirit, Newman said.

“At some point, these arguments will end up in the courts, either directly as rights claims or as claims that there ought to have been consultation on potential effects on such rights,” Newman said in an article for the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, where he is a senior fellow.

“And the very presence of these arguments will overturn the expectations of many who think they have liberal views, but actually have ongoing paternalistic views that assume First Nations always need protection from development.”

Many conservation campaigns rely on U.S. funds because there is more money available there due to tax laws and an abundance of wealthy philanthropists.

Vancouver-based researcher and blogger Vivian Krause has tallied the large sums poured by U.S. groups to fight pipelines and gas projects in Canada by analyzing tax filings.

The biggest funder has been the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, which has granted more than $190 million to First Nations, environmental and other organizations working in B.C., Krause said.

The top recipient of funds from the Moore Foundation is Tides Canada, which received at least $70 million, she said. Tides Canada spends that money internally and re-grants it to other groups, particularly First Nations organizations.

Other big U.S.-based funders are the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts.

“These American interests are trying to stop these projects any way they can, and one of the best ways is by leveraging the constitutional rights of First Nations in the courts,” Krause said.

The former United Nations worker said she pursued the research because of pleas for help from Indigenous leaders “who want jobs and social and economic prosperity (and) are sick and tired of what they call the paid protesters.”

One of those leaders is Gary Alexcee, a hereditary chief of the Nisga’a Nation near Alaska, and a member of Eagle Spirit’s Chiefs Council. He’s disappointed the federal government is giving more weight to environmentalists than to the needs of Indigenous communities.

“We were totally taken aback and surprised by the announcement of this tanker ban because of the government’s statement that they were going to include First Nations,” he said. “No one got consulted.”

Eagle Spirit would create jobs and opportunities “that people never had” in a region where other industries such as fishing, forestry and eco-tourism are doing badly, he said.

Alexcee, 70, said many in his community don’t support green campaigns. He said activists have come to the region in big numbers and picked “token” members to advance their causes.

Relations between activists and Indigenous people got really ugly in nearby Prince Rupert, in the territory of the Lax Kw’alaams.

The community was initially opposed to a liquefied natural gas project proposed by a consortium led by Malaysia’s Petronas because of its location on Lelu Island, which they believed would threaten juvenile salmon.

They became supporters after negotiating bigger benefits and getting the project to re-locate.

But a small group of opponents continued to protest. Their frontman was Donnie Wesley, who claimed to be a hereditary chief and led an occupation of the site. That opened the door for activists to come in and offer band members funds and assistance to defeat a high-profile target, said Mayor John Helin.

Dozens of “professional protesters” travelled to the area from as far away as California with funding from groups such as SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, which, in turn, was getting money from Tides and the Moore Foundation.

“More or less, they called me a traitor,” Helin said.

Petronas pulled the plug on the $36-billion venture this summer, which meant $2 billion in benefits over 40 years for the band were lost.

The Lax Kw’alaams chided Wesley for misrepresenting himself as a hereditary leader. The dispute over who represented the community ended up in court. Wesley lost and is appealing.

Greg Knox, executive director of Terrace, B.C.-based SkeenaWild, said there is a wide range of perspectives in Indigenous communities and while some may feel they lost opportunity when Petronas cancelled its LNG project, others were relieved because salmon were no longer threatened.

“This project was proposed for a terrible location,” Knox said. Many other LNG projects were also proposed, but “this was the only one that people were concerned about and there was big opposition to.”

His group also campaigned against Northern Gateway and supports the tanker ban, he said, but doesn’t have a position on Eagle Spirit yet because it doesn’t have enough information. brags on its website that it has delayed or stopped 21 “dirty oil pipelines and train projects.” But it relied on Will George, a member of the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation, to confront Kinder Morgan Canada chief executive Ian Anderson at a recent Vancouver Board of Trade event promoting the $7.4-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

“I do not welcome you onto my territory. You are not welcome on my lands, and you certainly cannot be doing business here without Tsleil-Waututh consent,” George said, according to a statement distributed by the group.

“It’s really Indigenous nations protecting their land that allows us to win these fights,” said campaigner Hailey Zacks, noting 150 First Nations in Canada and the U.S. are opposed to the project.

For its part, Kinder Morgan said 42 directly impacted Indigenous communities are supportive of the pipeline expansion and have signed benefits agreements.

Zacks couldn’t speak to that, but said, “What I do know is that the communities that I work with are willing to do whatever it takes to stop it.”

Haida Gwaii is one community known as a hostile place for development of all kinds — and for those who dare to promote it.

Hereditary chief Ray Jones, 66, was harshly castigated for doing consulting work for Northern Gateway, which would have included tankers sailing to and from Asia, potentially impacting the island.

A former captain in the fishing industry with intimate knowledge of the coast, the 66-year-old said he supported the shipment of oil and gas and any other work that promised desperately needed employment.

His contract job with Enbridge involved building communications between the island community and the company, he said.

But Jones was up against powerful forces. Haida Gwaii’s leadership worked closely with activists, he said, “a whole pile of them,” particularly from the David Suzuki Foundation, visited the area regularly and influenced the local population.

The foundation did not respond to an interview request.

The community was so close-minded about getting an alternative point of view, few even asked him what his job with Enbridge involved, Jones said.

“Everybody said they hated me for working for Enbridge, you are the enemy, you are a traitor,” he said. “I have two sisters who don’t talk to me. I have had people call me the village clown, a lot of derogatory things. I’ve had my tires slashed, I’ve had somebody key my car. It’s ugly.”

The same attitude has killed other jobs, pushing young people away and leaving the rest with nothing to improve their lot, he said.

“I always tell my grand children, get a damn good education because I don’t know what you kids are in for in your life,” Jones said. “We lived in a good time.”



Released on January 4, 2018

Premier Brad Wall today said he is cautiously optimistic about the recently approved merger of Agrium and PotashCorp into a new company called Nutrien, based on commitments made in recent meetings with the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) and Board Chairs of the two merging corporations.

Those commitments include:

  • Nutrien’s registered head office and global potash operations will be located in Saskatoon;
  • corporate office positions in Saskatchewan will increase by at least 15 per cent, to approximately 300;
  • approximately 4,500 of Nutrien’s 20,000 employees worldwide will be located in Saskatchewan;
  • two new business functions will relocate to Saskatchewan; and
  • CEO and/or Executive Chair of the Nutrien Board and the President of Nutrien’s potash operations will live and work in Saskatchewan.

“This is a strong commitment to Saskatchewan, which will ensure that the merger results in a net benefit for our province,” Wall said.  “All of these commitments remain subject to approval of the new Nutrien board.  Our government will be closely monitoring future developments, but I have every expectation that Nutrien will follow through on their commitments to Saskatchewan.”


For more information, contact:

Karen Hill
Executive Council
Phone: 306-787-2127

Government of Saskatchewan logo

Sask. one step closer to coal agreement with feds

Sask. one step closer to coal agreement with feds

Saskatchewan is capping GHG emissions for coal and electricity producers in hopes of reaching an equivalency agreement with the federal government.

Published on: January 3, 2018 | Last Updated: January 3, 2018 4:56 PM CST

SaskPower coal
A vehicle carrying coal rolls toward SaskPower electrical generating plant. BRUCE JOHNSTONE/THE LEADER-POST

Saskatchewan is capping GHG emissions for coal and electricity producers in hopes of reaching an equivalency agreement with the federal government.

A portion of a law — the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases and Adaptation to Climate Change Act — which once fully proclaimed would essentially put a carbon price on heavy emitters, came into effect on Jan. 1.

According to Environment Minister Dustin Duncan, it is a necessary step to get in line with pending federal regulations on coal-fired plants, calling it “the next step to an equivalency agreement with the province.”

As of Monday, SaskPower will have a cap on the greenhouse gas emissions across its entire fleet of coal-fired electricity plants.

Under an agreement with the federal government, first announced in November 2016, Saskatchewan will be able to keep its fleet of coal-fired power plants if they meet or exceed federal environmental standards.

If not for such an agreement, the province says it would have to close its coal-fired units at the end of their economic life or by 2030 (depending on which date comes first).

The new regulations, which still need an OK from the federal government, allow SaskPower to manage its emissions on a fleet-wide basis, meaning sites that go over the emissions cap can be compensated for at sites — notably the carbon capture and storage facility in Estevan — with emissions significantly lower than the cap.

“That’s going to give (SaskPower) a little bit of flexibility to manage the fleet,” said Duncan.

It is expected the province and the federal government will spend 2018 continuing to hash out how Saskatchewan can appease Ottawa’s desire to reduce coal-fired plants by 2030.

In 2016, the federal government sped up the timetable for provinces burning coal for electricity to adopt new technology, like capturing the carbon emissions, or shut down the plants entirely.

“We’re certainly on track to where we thought we’d be at this point in that process, but it has been a long conversation a couple of years and so we’re definitely closer to the end of this part of the process than the beginning,” said Duncan.

He also indicated how the remaining pieces of the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases and Adaptation to Climate Change Act will come into effect.

Rather than proclaiming the law all at once, Duncan signalled the province is more likely to put in place industry-specific regulations on greenhouse gas emissions and proclaim sections of the law allowing them to do so when needed.

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