Federal government offers financing for Kivalliq hydro line from Gillam to Nunavut

The Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) announced on Feb. 5 that it’s willing to bankroll a $1.6-billion Kivalliq hydro-fibre line from Gillam to serve five Kivalliq communities in Nunavut and the territory’s mining industry.

Partners for the potential project are the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA), Sakku Investments Corporation, Anbaric Development Partners and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

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“The proposed [230 kV] Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link involves the construction of a new 1,200-kilometre, 150-megawatt transmission line to Nunavut from Manitoba,” the CIB said in a news release. “This project would bring renewable, sustainable and reliable hydroelectricity to modernize electricity systems and potentially reduce reliance on diesel power generation while supporting the economic interest of Indigenous Peoples in remote communities.”

“The proposed Manitoba-Nunavut hydroelectric power line transmission and fibre optics project aligns with our Turaaqtavut mandate, Nunavut's growing telecommunications needs, and the Government of Canada's goal to reduce the effects of climate change,” said Nunavut Premier Joe Savikataaq in a statement, 

Ed Krapels, Anbaric Development Partners CEO, said the company develops projects with long-term economic, technical and environmental value.

“The Kivalliq Inuit Association is the ideal partner,” he said in a statement. “They are committed to infrastructure solutions for their constituents and think in terms of millennia, not election cycles or fiscal quarters. Together, we have created a financial and technical business case that respects the traditions of the Inuit while meeting our shared social and environmental objectives. Simply put, it’s good business.” 

KIA president Kono Tattuinee said his organization has a long-held vision for northern infrastructure connections to southern Canada. 

“With Anbaric as our partner, the time is now to make this happen,” he explained in a statement. “This project is Inuit-led, will bring numerous economic opportunities for Nunavummiut and will dramatically improve public service delivery for sectors such as health and education  all while providing energy security and fighting climate change.” 

The CIB said the fibre optic line would bring broadband connectivity to the region for the first time, “to enhancing telecommunications services for residents, businesses and for public service delivery. The long-term benefits would include substantial infrastructure for transmission and fibre optic cabling to deliver reliable electricity and broadband services, which is crucial for advancing the economy.”

The Winnipeg Free Press reported that stakeholders are hoping for the project, which would employ 300 people during construction and create 30 permanent jobs, to reach Rankin Inlet by 2026.

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