Kemano Tunnel Work To Resume
Province issues amended water licence
Rio Tinto Alcan is set to resume work on its second tunnel linking the Nechako reservoir with its Kemano generating station.
Late Thursday afternoon, the B.C. government announced it has issued an amendment to its long-standing agreement with RTA, allowing the company to put in the second tunnel, connect it to its original tunnel and penstocks and complete a partially-built intake for the second tunnel at West Tahtsa Lake.
A news release says the signing comes after the province and company consulted with Kitimat, Vanderhoof and Prince George and Rio Tinto Alcan talked to local First Nations.
The company says it needs the Kemano Back Up Tunnel to ensure it has a reliable power supply for its aluminum smelter at Kitimat, which is undergoing a multi-billion-dollar modernization.
The government says the amended agreement does not provide an increase in water rights to the company and doesn't authorize the addition of any new generators.
Rio Tinto Alcan suspended work on the tunnel last week, affecting more than 100 workers, saying the suspension was because the province hadn't yet signed the amended water licence.