Energy Corp approves transmission line without YESAA

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment board hasn’t issued its final report about a new transmission line, but that hasn’t…

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment board hasn’t issued its final report about a new transmission line, but that hasn’t stopped the Yukon Energy Corporation’s board of directors from approving its construction.

The transmission line from Carmacks to Pelly Crossing, including a spur line to the Minto copper mine, is expected to cost $27.8 million and still needs the approval of the Northern Tutchone First Nations and the necessary permits and approval from the Yukon government.

Even thought the YESAA process is unfinished, Energy, Mines And Resources Minister Archie Lang said it’s time to move forward on the project.

“YESAA is completed to a point where an announcement can be made,” said Lang on Thursday.

Construction costs are about $5 million higher than estimates YEC and the government reported in May.

“While the total pricetag is higher than originally estimated, the economics are still there to make this a viable project for Yukon Energy and for ratepayers,” said YEC president David Morrison.

The transmission line will connect Pelly Crossing residents to the hydropower grid and is the first phase of a plan to connect the northern and southern grids.

YEC also announced the line would be built by a partnership between Northern Tutchone First Nations, Valard Construction and Arctic Power.

Again, the $17.3 million contract is conditional to obtaining the final permits and permission to proceed with the project.

The Northern Tutchone First Nations, in a partnership with J.V. Partners, received the $3.4-million contract for clearing brush for the line.

The Northern Tutchone First Nations included the Little Salmon/Carmacks, the Nacho Nyak Dun and Selkirk First Nations.

Minto mine owner Sherwood Copper is providing nearly $11 million for its portion of the transmission line, said CEO Stephen Quin.

“YESAA is virtually done,” he said, adding that the draft report was generally positive.

YEC expects up to $4 million a year from the sale of power to Minto.

YEC said clearing will start this fall and construction could begin Spring 2008. The line could be operating Fall 2008.