I have been closely following the debate about the LNG industry and have come to believe that a vast majority of people in the north are in favour of Petronas moving forward, but not at the expense of Flora Bank.
I feel the same way.
I am a third generation fisherman that has been in this industry for most of my life, the last thing we need is any further stress on Skeena River salmon. What we do need, however, is high-paying, long-term jobs. We all suffered with the loss of the pulp mill and have never fully recovered. We really need the development of a project like Petronas to get us back on our feet.
There could be another way to bypass Flora Bank and I would like to introduce it for debate. On the surface this alternative may not appear to be a better way for Petronas, but I believe it makes a lot of sense.
The location I am talking about is a small section of the 60 square kilometre Smith Island. The area is on the extreme Northwest point of land furthest from the Skeena River. The distance from this location to Lelu Island is 3.5 km, the distance to the Flora Bank is 2.5 km and Tsum Tsadia inlet on Smith Island is three km. The hydro line servicing Kitkatla runs through the property.
This location has a number of positive attributes the first of which is that this location is Granite rock. Granite is very strong and stands up well in a marine environment. This property on Smith Island is also very steep for the first 30 metres as it rises out of the ocean before it levels out to a very flat plateau with next to no overburden and little to no Muskeg.
The reason I know so much about this site is I am a shareholder in Pacific Rim LNG. We have had an interest in this property for seven years and hold mineral tenure rights, investigative use permits, and foreshore permit applications.
Our plan for the site was to develop a quarry, build a plant, and we have applications pending for foreshore rights and a mining permit related to developing a small dimension stone quarry.
I would further like to say that we were in discussions with Petronas about a year ago. At our meeting there was some keen interest in this site. Petronas liked the fact that there was little to no overburden or muskeg and that it was granite rock. They were concerned about the size of the site.
LNG is a new and developing industry and it just so happens that new technology developed in the industry now allows the gas in a liquid form to be sent up to four km making it now financially viable to use this Smith Island site as a shipping location.
In conclusion, this site is definitely worth further investigation. Petronas had a focus on somehow securing rights to get acceptance to cross the Flora bank, and now that they have been declined I think it’s a logical next step to look at this site. The Lelu Island portion of Petronas’ planned development would still be used in this scenario and a pipeline would go underwater to Smith Island.
I hope people will debate, discuss, and consider this alternative.