VICTORIA, B.C. – The B.C. government announced today that it has reached multiple agreements with the Lax Kw’alaams Band to ensure benefits accrue for First Nations as a result of the construction and operation of a liquefied natural gas export industry in the Prince Rupert area.
“This is a major milestone for the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation and for British Columbia’s natural gas future,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Building this new industry is an unprecedented opportunity to create jobs and economic prospects for British Columbians and these agreements ensure Lax Kw’alaams members will directly benefit from the industry’s growth.”
There are three key components: a Lax Kw’alaams LNG Benefits Agreement, a Coastal Fund Benefits Agreement and a Pipeline Benefits Agreement.
The LNG Benefits Agreement provides financial benefits including a trust fund and capital for road improvements and infrastructure. Upon Pacific NorthWest LNG’s final investment decision, a predetermined amount of funds will be released from the trust, with the remaining balance available once facility construction begins. A total of 1,942 hectares of Crown land will also be transferred to the Lax Kw’alaams Band as part of the benefits detailed in the agreement.
“After many meetings and negotiation sessions, I feel pleased we are at this stage,” said Mayor John Helin, Lax Kw’alaams Band. “We have the first of its kind environmental agreement and have a benefits package that will allow us to go a long way to address the needs of our members, should this project proceed.”
The Coastal Fund Benefits Agreement defines ongoing benefits for the Lax Kw’alaams Band during export operations, including those linked to PNW LNG and any additional LNG export facilities that may be built in the Prince Rupert area.
“Building a liquefied natural gas export industry is an economic boost for our entire province and this agreement solidifies a prosperous future for the Lax Kw’alaams Band,” said Rich Coleman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Natural Gas Development. “We are excited to partner with the Lax Kw’alaams Band to reach this significant milestone.”
“Working with the Lax Kw’alaams and our other First Nations partners is an important part of the legacy we’re working hard to build in northwestern British Columbia,” said Wan Badrul Hisham, chief project officer, Pacific NorthWest LNG. “This agreement represents the beginning of a decades-long journey of partnership and mutual respect between Pacific NorthWest LNG and the Tsimshian people.”
In addition to benefits identified under the LNG Benefits Agreement and Coastal Fund Benefits Agreement with the Province, PNW LNG has executed an impact benefits agreement with the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation. The agreement includes guarantees to provide:
- Access to employment.
- Training and capacity funding.
- Financing for cultural support.
- Participation in ongoing environmental monitoring.
- First Nations business opportunities in the construction and operational phases of the project.
- Annual payments based on production of the LNG facility.
In a press release, the Province also announced that it had signed nearly identical agreements with the nearby Metlakatla First Nation.
Last month the Province, the Lax Kw’alaams Band, the Metlakatla First Nation, and the federal government signed an Environmental Monitoring Committee Agreement which outlines how all parties will collaborate to facilitate environmental oversight over the lifetime of the proposed terminal.
The project is currently awaiting a final investment decision by Petronas.