I wish to add my voice to those who similarly believe that it is possible to protect Yukon ecosystems while continuing to responsibly explore and develop Yukon’s resources, specifically those found in the Peel Watershed.
On behalf of Chevron Canada, I would like to draw attention to concerns with respect to proposed transportation corridors contained in the Draft Peel Regional Watershed Regional Land Use Plan (LUP). It is imperative Yukoners understand the implications of these proposed corridors, since they could ultimately determine the fate of future economic development in the region.
Our concerns relate to the transportation corridors designated for the Crest iron ore deposit for which Chevron holds the mineral claims and for Chevron’s natural gas discoveries in the Eagle Plains area. Both sites reside within integrated management zones, which allow for resource development.
Under the land-use plan, the rail line to ship iron ore from the Crest deposit to world markets would be required to take a long circuitous route north to Fort McPherson, where it would join the Dempster Highway and then reverse course, travelling south and then west to a deepwater port on the Pacific coast.
In addition to imposing an additional 500 kilometres of disturbance in or near the Peel Watershed, such an indirect route – versus an already identified and more direct route to the southwest – would increase, by approximately $3 billion, the costs of constructing and operating rail and pipeline infrastructure needed to support the mine. These costs must be considered in the context of the Crest deposit which, although world class in size, already faces enormous economic challenges due to its remote location, lack of infrastructure and formidable terrain. Imposing unreasonable access to the mine would create a further impediment to its potential future development.
Chevron respects, and agrees with, the need to protect Yukon’s sensitive ecosystems. We respectfully submit that the Peel Watershed Planning Commission (PWPC) consider permitting the following access corridors that will provide general protection for the region, yet allow industry reasonable access for transportation:
A corridor across the Bonnet Plume River Basin, for the Crest deposit infrastructure; and
A corridor from the Eagle Plains and Peel Plateau and Plain basins, permitting natural gas to be transported to the proposed Mackenzie Gas Project.
In addition to providing for responsible development, these corridors would improve ecosystem protection by minimizing the total length of disturbance to the Peel Watershed and avoiding transfer of disturbance to other locations within the watershed or to Gwich’in Special Management Zones.
Since discovering the Crest iron ore deposit in 1961, Chevron has long realized the tremendous value of this resource. It is our hope that it one day may be developed to the benefit of all Yukoners.
M.A. (Mark) Nelson, president
Chevron Canada Limited