Invest a few billion dollars in New York City, metro population 12 million and people may not even notice. Do the same in the town of Kitsault, BC and the one resident is bound to notice.
Kitsault is an unincorporated settlement on the North Coast of British Columbia, at the head of Alice Arm, Observatory Inlet and at the mouth of the Kitsault River. The locality of Alice Arm and the Nisga’a community of Gits’oohl. “Kitsault” is an adaptation of Gits’oohl, which means “a ways in behind”.
The later town of Kitsault was established in 1979 as the home community to a molybdenum mine run by the Phelps Dodge corporation of the United States. The community was designed for 1,200 residents and included a shopping mall, restaurant, swimming pool and bowling alley. In 1982, however, prices for molybdenum crashed and the entire community was evacuated after just 18 months of residence.
In 2004, Krishnan Suthanthiran, a Canadian educated U.S. business man and philanthropist, saw great potential in this sleeping beauty of a town and purchased the whole town for $5M. Since then he has since been working diligently to awaken Kitsault from its deep sleep and bring it back to life. Krishnan has renamed the town Chandra Krishnan Kitsault in honour of his mother: “My mother gave me life and I want to give life back to this town.”
Suthanthiran formed Kitsault Energy and began pitching the empty town as an ideal location to build a liquid natural gas plant and pipeline terminal to ship B.C.‘s vast natural gas resources to markets in Asia. Suthanthiran says it has cost him about $2 million just to keep the town from crumbling, and liquid natural gas may be the only way to keep paying the bills. The project will require up to $30 billion to get off the ground, so he’s currently trying to gather international investors.
Another large project is underway for Kitsault: Avanti Mining Inc.is advancing its $1 billion development of the Kitsault molybdenum mine. The company has received regulatory approvals and is working on advanced engineering and financing. Alloycorp Mining Inc., the renamed entity pursuing the project is listed on the TSX ((ticker AVT). It trades at $0.005 with a market cap of $38M.
Kitsault was a town nobody wanted. An entrepreneur saved it from destruction. Now a little town of one may rise to be home to hundreds.