The Na-cho Nyak Dun are officially in the energy business.
The Yukon Energy Corporation signed a long-awaited deal with the Mayo-based First Nation allowing for a investment stake in the Mayo B hydro upgrade.
“The signing of this agreement is the first step in our First Nation receiving revenues from a utility for many years into the future and it gives us the opportunity to invest in the ownership of the new hydro electric generating facility,” said Chief Simon Mervyn in a Friday news release.
It’s not clear what kind of investment position the Na-cho have agreed to. Neither Yukon Energy nor the First Nation returned calls by press time.
The Na-cho would not be a direct owner of the Mayo B plant, but would have another kind of stake in the project, Yukon Energy president David Morrison said in an earlier interview.
The First Nation would also not get ownership of the plant’s carbon credits, said Morrison.
The Na-cho have also hired a liasion to work with Kiewit Construction, the company that won the $84.5 million to build the plant, to co-ordinate the hiring of around 120 people, said the Friday release.
There’s also potential for local businesses to tap into sub-contracting, the release said.
Yukon Energy has already ordered a tubrine and a generator for the new powerhouse, which will provide an extra 10 megawatts to the current five-megawatt facility.
The project is in the final stages of running through the Yukon Environmental and Socioeconomic Assessment Board.
On April 15, the board finished receiving public comment and is now considering its final recommendation.
The groundwork has already been prepared at the site and it’s not clear what construction has already taken place.
Yukon Energy underwent a three-day hearing over Mayo B by the Yukon Utilities Board in early April.
It’s not clear when a final response from the board is expected.