Stewart, a tiny BC coastal community that borders Alaska, is strategically placed to become a major export port.
Stewart is located at the head of the Portland Canal in north western British Columbia. West of Stewart is Hyder, Alaska, which is only 3 kilometres (2 mi) from the town. East of the town is Meziadin Junction, which is 61 kilometres (38 mi) from the town.
Stewart had a population of about 10,000 prior to World War I – today, Stewart’s population is about 500. Stewart has a coastal rain forest climate and it is Canada’s most northerly ice-free port. The Port of Stewart is about 900 kilometers away from Vancouver. The city has many established amenities including schools, hospital, sport facility, hotels, and a small airport. Stewart is the closest port from the west coast of North America to Asia and is well connected to the North American transportation corridor via Highway 37.
Canada Stewart Energy Group Ltd. filed its 25-year LNG export licence application to the National Energy Board. The project, with a capacity of 30 million tonnes a year of LNG, would be located near Stewart in northwestern British Columbia. Stewart Energy is targeting annual capacity of five million tonnes on the floating vessel, aiming to launch that portion of the project in 2017. The remaining 25 million tonnes a year would be from five land-based facilities. Stewart Energy said it has signed off-take pacts with energy groups in two major Chinese cities. There are also plans for an 800-kilometre pipeline to transport natural gas to Stewart, where the commodity would be super-cooled into liquid form. Stewart Energy is privately held, but its bilingual English-Chinese website and the Board of Directors suggest that investors from China have a substantial ownership share in the company.
Interestingly Stewart is within the Nisga’a traditional territory. The Nisga’a support the construction of the The proposed Prince Rupert Gas Transmission(PRGT) Project is a 900kilometre natural gas pipeline from north of Hudson’s Hope B.C. to the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG export facility on Lelu Island at Prince Rupert. Once it’s operating, the project will generate an estimated $25 million each year in property taxes. The gas line runs with 100 kms. from Stewart.
The Red Chris Mine is due to start production in another month. The mine plans to haul to the Port of Stewart using B-Train style rigs. Trucks will carry revised payload of approximately 50 t (revised from 40-43 t) of moist copper concentrate and will be loaded and weighed inside the Red Chris concentrate storage building. At the design mill feed rate of 30,000 t/d, and concentrate production will average 337 dmt/d, and will require an average of 7 to 10 trucks per day to deliver concentrate to the Port of Steward. Depending on the weather and soil conditions load restrictions may be applicable during the period from late March to mid May.
CN Rail’s northern line to Prince Rupert can provide freight unloading capability at the town of Kitwanga, 221 kms away. BCHydro just completed a $500 m upgrade to provide power from Terrace up to Bob Quinn lake on Highway 37.
The stars are aligning for economic activity in Stewart BC. If Kitimat is any indication, house prices are about to rise in Stewart.