Ottawa gives $1.6 million to Kivalliq hydro-fiber link study

"This Inuit-led project will provide lasting benefits to the entire territory."

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The proposed project would connect five Kivalliq communities: Arviat, Whale Cove, Rankin Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet and Baker Lake, as well as Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s two operating gold mines, to hydro and fiber optic networks in Gillam, Manitoba. (Image courtesy of Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link)

Canada’s federal government will help pay for a study to look at the feasibility of connecting Nunavut’s Kivalliq region west of Hudson Bay to Manitoba’s hydroelectric and fiber-optic networks.

Just a few weeks after the Kivalliq Inuit Association pitched the project to federal officials in Ottawa, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) delivered support in the form of a $1.6-million investment.

That will help fund a two-year technical and feasibility study on developing a hydroelectric and fibre-optic link that would connect communities in the Kivalliq region to northern Manitoba.

The KIA and its private sector partner, Anbaric Development Partners, which specializes in large-scale electric transmission systems, will pay an additional $818,168 to complete the study.

“The federal government has shown leadership and will be a critical partner as we advance the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link project,” KIA president David Ningeongan said in a Feb. 25 release.

“Renewable energy, sustainable economic development, and high-speed fibre-optic internet are priorities for our communities. This Inuit-led project will provide lasting benefits to the entire territory and Canada.”

Nunavut’s leadership have lobbied for years to extend Manitoba’s existing power grid north to communities along western Hudson Bay — the most recent feasibility study was completed in 2016.

This revised project includes both hydro and broadband. It would begin in Gillam, Manitoba, and run north to five Kivalliq communities — Arviat, Whale Cove, Rankin Inlet, Chesterfield Inlet and Baker Lake — as well as to Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s two operating gold mines.

The initiative will determine the feasibility of building about 1,200 kilometers of electric transmission line, a number of shorter, medium-voltage transmission lines, as well as a fiber-optic line.

The study includes the collection of technical data, conceptual design work, permitting and consultations.