The Vancouver Sun reports in its Friday edition northwest British Columbia boasts it has a slate of prospective industrial projects totalling $60-billion. The Sun's Gordon Hoekstra writes that while that may be more salesmanship than reality, there is little doubt a collection of mining, power, transportation and potential liquefied natural gas projects is priming the economy in a region that until a few years ago had lived through an unsettling decade in which its major forestry manufacturing plants shut down.
The economic resurgence started with Rio Tinto's announcement in 2011 that it was moving ahead with a $2.7-billion modernization of its aluminum smelter in Kitimat. That secured 1,000 permanent jobs.
Other projects have followed in its wake. Those include a $736-million power line. Construction is also already under way on AltaGas's $725-million Forest Kerr run-of-river hydroelectric project, which will feed power to the new transmission line. There is a coterie of liquefied natural gas projects also in the queue for Kitimat and Prince Rupert, including by giant oil companies such as Chevron and Shell Canada. While not yet under construction, work is being carried out on surveying and planning.
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