The Kivalliq Inuit Association and Sakku Investments have jointly formed a new corporation to manage the development of the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link project.
Called the Nukik Corporation, it was officially incorporated in March after the boards of KIA and Sakku voted unanimously to create the new entity.
It will now assume the lead role in developing the hydro-fibre link that will bring clean energy and broadband service to the region.
“KIA and Sakku through our project planning processes agreed that with the magnitude of this project and its scale … we thought it would be more efficient to create an entity such as Nukik,” explained David Kakuktinniq, who was chosen by KIA and Sakku to be the president of Nukik Corporation.
Kakuktinniq also serves as the president and CEO for Sakku Investments. According to the government registry, the other three directors for Nukik are KIA president Kono Tattuinee and Peter Kattegatsiak, KIA’s regional director for Chesterfield Inlet, as well as Sakku Investments chairperson Dino Bruce. The new corporation is 51 per cent owned by KIA with the other 49 per cent owned by Sakku Investments.
KPMG signed on as financial advisor
Discussions about the possibility of hydro/fibre optic link, connecting southern Nunavut to Manitoba’s grid have been ongoing for decades. According to Kakuktinniq, the creation of Nukik represents a major step forward in bringing the project to life.
“It’s certainly a project that is significant to the region, but also to the territory. And given that it’s a nation-building project. We’re really excited to see what comes next,” Kakuktinniq said, pointing to the fact that the hydro-fibre link will bring clean energy and broadband service to the region.
One of Nukik’s first steps since incorporating was to sign an agreement with the Canada Infrastructure Bank. The company has also hired KPMG to act as a financial advisor on the project.
“They’ve been signed on through Nukik to help carry the project to a financial close,” Kakuktinniq told Kivalliq News.
$3 million from feds
The news of Nukik’s creation comes as the federal government announced another $3 million to support the continuation of feasibility studies and surveys which have been underway for the past few years.
Kakuktinniq said those studies will be necessary to make sure Nukik can meet the requirements of the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the Nunavut Water Board and other community consultations that will be necessary for the project to be approved.
“The funding that CanNor has provided has helped a lot with the pre-feasibility and the planning for the baseline studies,” said Kakuktinniq. “Those detail pieces need to be planned for and you need to create the business plans and the financial models and the different elements like that.”
The federal government also announced they would be investing $40.4 million over three years with this year’s budget to support feasibility and planning of hydroelectricity and grid interconnection projects in the North. Kakuktinniq said Nukik is hoping to be able to access some of that funding for the Hydro-Fibre project.
In addition to public funding, Nukik will be seeking out private investors and partners.
The corporation’s next major step is to choose a development partner that has significant experience with planning and implementing major hydro infrastructure projects.
Kakuktinniq said Nukik is hoping to select a partner by the end of summer.
“By sometime in August we’ll know who our development partner is,” said Kakuktinniq. “Once that’s in place, the nature of that relationship will morph into what Nukik represents and what we will move forward with.”
Big benefits of hydro and fibre optic connection
The most recent estimates peg the price tag for the project at $1.6 billion. The joint development of both a hydro and fire optic line have the potential to deliver huge benefits to the Kivalliq region.
According to information provided on www.kivalliqlink.ca, when completed the fibre optic link will lower broadband costs by 50 per cent. Meanwhile internet download speeds will be 3,000 per cent faster, while upload speeds will be 1,000 per cent faster.
By tying the fibre optic link to the hydro project, the Kivalliq will also be able to reduce its reliance on diesel, which will lower the cost of energy and improve Nunavut’s carbon footprint.
In addition to those benefits, the transition to cheaper and greener energy will also be an incentive for potential investment in the region.
“It creates an economic opportunity for the region in the long term, in that we will have renewable resources,” said Kakuktinniq.
“There’s a multiplier effect in what these benefits are and that extends into the mineral resource sector. If you’re providing green alternative energy instead of a company needing to buy diesel that provides a business opportunity in itself.”