Aboriginal group on Vancouver Island signs deal for LNG project – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – July 9, 2014)

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VANCOUVER — A self-governing aboriginal group on Vancouver Island has signed a deal with a fledgling liquefied natural gas company in hopes of developing a massive project to export LNG to Asia.

Members of the Huu-ay-aht First Nations say they are eager to work with project leader Steelhead LNG Corp. to build an export terminal near Bamfield on the southwest side of Vancouver Island.

Huu-ay-aht First Nations chief councillor Jeff Cook said his group is in a strong position to help nurture a major venture in the resource sector. He noted that the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last month that the consent of aboriginals is required for how their ancestral lands are used.

The Huu-ay-aht are part of the 2011 Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, one of only a handful of treaty and land claim pacts in British Columbia. “We’re open for business.

For too long, we’ve been left behind in the resource industry and basically consulted after the fact. We want to be part of this LNG project,” Mr. Cook said in an interview.

Steelhead LNG is filing its export licence application Tuesday to the National Energy Board. The Vancouver-based firm is applying to export up to 30 million tonnes of LNG annually for 25 years, making it the largest project by capacity proposed so far in British Columbia.

The goal is to launch with 12 million tonnes of annual LNG capacity by 2022, and then ramp up in later years.

There are 15 B.C. LNG export projects in the works, though industry experts say it is realistic to expect four B.C. LNG projects at most to come to fruition.

Eleven of the projects are focused on terminals to be built in northwestern British Columbia. There are now two terminals proposed for Vancouver Island – the other is the Discovery LNG project slated for Campbell River. The Woodfibre LNG project is planned near Squamish, north of Vancouver, and there is also WesPac Midstream LLC’s proposal for Tilbury Island, south of Vancouver.

Nearly 650 members of the Huu-ay-aht have moved away, leaving about 100 natives remaining in the community of Anacla, near Bamfield. Other Huu-ay-aht citizens now live in various parts of British Columbia and Washington state because there have been brighter economic prospects elsewhere over the years.

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