Labrador MP Yvonne Jones called media in St. John’s together to raise the alarm over a transmission line from Churchill Falls to Labrador West.
Jones told reporters that she’s worried the provincial government is delaying plans to build the new transmission line, and that it could choke new mining investment in Labrador.
Liberal MP Yvonne Jones speaks to reporters at the Holiday Inn in St. John’s Monday.
— Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram
“These are jobs we cannot afford to lose. Labrador right now is in a boom and bust situation with Muskrat Falls,” she said. “We want to make sure that when Muskrat Falls is clewing up, that we have other industry for people to go to.”
The provincial government has been talking about making moves to replace the Churchill Falls to Labrador West transmission line for several years; the line is aging, and it needs to be upgraded to carry recall power from Churchill Falls and Muskrat Falls electricity to mining projects.
But Jones said she believes the government is more focused on sending electricity to Emera in Nova Scotia and selling it on the market, and as such, they’re putting the Labrador line on the backburner.
“We know how volatile the mining industry is. We know that it’s very difficult to raise capital for investments. And we want to ensure that these companies have the infrastructure they need to be able to move forward immediately,” she said. “We’re looking at new mines that will bring as much as $2 billion to $4 billion to government over the life of some of these mines.”
Jones said she believes the issue hasn’t be raised by her provincial counterparts because the line would not affect the Labrador coast — which is where provincial Liberals Randy Edmunds and Lisa Dempster are from.
Jones said she doesn’t think the current labour crunch in Labrador owing to the Muskrat Falls project is part of the issue.
“I’m not convinced there’s a labour shortage,” she said.