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Thursday, July 07, 2005

Labrador - 600 Kilometer Pipline to be Constructed from Drinking Straw

Recently it was reported that New Millennium Capital Corp. is proposing to construct a 600 kilometer long pipeline from an iron ore find near Schefferville, Labrador to a pellet processing plant inside Quebec.

This pipeline, which would be the longest of its kind in the world, would allow the company to directly pipe an expected 500 million tons of concentrated ore out of the area. The ore would then be processed at a new plant, to be constructed in Sept-Isles, rather than building the plant in Labrador itself.

Do I need to say it folks, “Here we go again.”

This ore deposit is expected to be worth in the neighborhood of $50 billion. The company does not currently have a pellet plant built, yet they intend to build one 600k away in another province. I have to ask, what is wrong with building it in the province where the ore is located?

Newfoundland and Labrador has the highest unemployment rate in the Country. A project of this kind could provide much needed jobs and would remove the need to undertake such a massive pipeline project.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, they have added insult to injury by not consulting with local Innu peoples on the proposal. The mine site in question sits inside Labrador Innu Nation Territory, yet it appears they were not even aware of the company’s intentions. Rather, the company has struck a partnership arrangement with an Innu group in Quebec.

Smart move guys.

Think about it folks, the current Premier has already threatened the largest oil companies in the world and watched them come back to the table. He has told the world that no resources will be exported from the province without maximum benefit for Newfoundland and Labrador. What kind of message should that send to a company like New Millennium Capital Corp, which is currently trading on the venture stock exchange for about .57 cents a share? Let’s get real.

Recent events in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador have taught the government and the citizens some valuable lessons. First and foremost, the province has some of the richest natural resources in the country, if not the continent itself. Second, everyone wants those resources, and third, it’s OK to just say NO.

People in the province have found a voice that has lay dormant inside them for decades.

Newfoundlander’s and Labradorean’s are a strong and proud people. Hard working and honest people, who settled in the middle of a harsh and unforgiving North Atlantic. They are a people, who for centuries have had to fight for every scrap of sustenance and who have never had an easy road.

After giving up their sovereignty and entering Canada just over 50 years ago, many of these people lost their voice. Perhaps it was a matter of being the new kid on the block, or perhaps it was the fear of what speaking out might mean. Whatever the reason, it became the status quo to take what was offered and walk away, head hung low and with an awkward thank-you on the lips.

The latter is perhaps the Newfoundlander or Labradorean that most Canadians can identify with, but it’s the former that people in the province remember.

Currently the people of the province are experiencing a kind of rebirth. A newfound pride in their capabilities, their land and their potential. They are also feeling a newly discovered streak of independence, no doubt left over from the days before entry into Confederation.

Government leaders in the province now know two things very, very well. If they sign any deal or allow any development that even smells of a giveaway, the people of the province will ride them out of town on a hot steel rail. Conversely, if they fight their battles every inch of the way and don’t back down from anyone, these same people will stand behind their leaders, champion their causes and keep electing them to office term after term after term.

In the end, isn’t that what every people and every politician wants?

This symbiotic relationship between leader and led is one that the province is just becoming accustomed to, but the hope exists that it may be the catalyst needed to shake things up and set the stage for a new era.

So come on New Millennium Capital Corp. and all the other Corp’s or Co’s or Ltd’s out there, its time to recognize and even embrace this fundamental shift in the landscape and culture of Canada's eastern most province.

Whether you like it or not, it’s time to start working with some of the most stubborn people on the face of the planet. Not only that, you may as well get used to it. When someone from the Far East of the Western World sets their mind to something, you have about as much chance of changing it as you do of digging 500 million tons of iron out of the ground with a silver spoon and piping it to Quebec through a drinking straw.

1 comment:

Anon said...

If they can suck as hard as they can blow, they'll get all the ore they need through that straw.