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Power and Politics

The Taltson River Hydro Dam not only provides green energy: at 18 megawatts it is the biggest single source of power in the territorial power company’s arsenal. But it could be much more. Dezé Energy wants to quadruple the dam’s output and run transmission lines around the east end of Great Slave Lake to the diamond mines. The finished product would get the mines off diesel, make some money for the power company, and help secure the territory’s energy future. Now if it can only get off the ground.

Risk vs Reward

Twenty-five years ago this summer, when the purpose-designed polar cruise ship MS Explorer took 98 tourists on a 23-day sail through the Northwest Passage it was a triumphant first, launching the cruise industry in Arctic Canada. In November 2007, in the South Shetland Islands off Antarctica in seemingly benign ice conditions and calm seas, the veteran vessel with the ice-strengthened hull and Class 1A rating notched another first: it struck an iceberg and became the first-ever cruise ship to sink in polar waters.

Ice to Burn

Long the bane of gas pipeliners and drillers, methane hydrates are fast looking like energy’s next frontier. And Canada’s North is a hydrates hotbed. The world’s first sustained production test was demonstrated in the Mackenzie Delta this year.

Really Stranded Gas

Nunavut may have some of the largest concentrations of oil and gas in Canada. The challenges are finding, mapping, extracting and getting them to market.

Iron Man

Gordon McCreary is betting a world-class iron ore deposit in Nunavut will break his junior mining company into the big leagues.


Pole Position

One hundred years ago Senator Pascal Poirier stood in the upper chamber of Parliament and proclaimed that the whole Arctic Archipelago between 60 and 142 degrees west longitude clear to the North Pole belonged to the Dominion of Canada. His articulation of that claim is still enshrined on a plaque placed on Melville Island two years later by captain J.E. Bernier of the C.S. Arctic.
Fast forward to August 2007. Spurred by the requirements of a 1982 international agreement called the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, a Russian submarine plants a titanium flag on the sea floor precisely under the North Pole. Russia says it has geological evidence that the North Pole is an extension of its own continental shelf and under UNCLOS rules can claim resources between the Pole and its own Northern shores.

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