A new breakbulk and project cargo port has opened in the Canadian North, located 183 km north of Prince Rupert. As with the Port of Prince Rupert, “Stewart World Port” has the advantage of being located closer to Asia than other west coast North American ports, representing a savings in steaming time of 1½ - 2 hours. Billed as “North America’s Most Northern Ice Free Port”, it is located close to the 114 km Portland Canal. The Canal forms part of the border between British Columbia and Alaska, offers ships deep water to a depth of 300 feet at the shallowest point and a width of 1.5 kilometres at the narrowest point. The port, owned and operated by Ted Pickell of Fort St. John and located at the head of the Portland Canal (which is a natural inlet, not man made) now has a new dock capable of handling Panamax ships and offloading breakbulk and/or oversized shipments such as recent shipments of wind turbine equipment.

Brad Moffat, chief development officer for the port, said plans are to have the port become a multi-purpose port.

“We are very interested in the mine concentrate industry. We are also open for all kinds of breakbulk cargo and see ourselves open to a number of industries: oil and gas, mining, all types of forestry products and any type of project cargo destined for B.C. and the Yukon.”

While the port has access to a highway and airport, Moffat said management would like to see rail access constructed someday. “There is talk of one of the closest mines belting their product to the port. But, that remains to be seen,” he said.

He said the port has a large crane on site to handle breakbulk but expects large, heavy cargo will be unloaded by self-unloading ships.

LNG pipe is a “huge prospect” he said and we’re very close to all three of the pipelines planned for B.C.

“We have a 230 meter-long dock with a 70 meter-long approach trestle in very deep water of -18 meters at the shallow end at low tide. At present a Panamax can berth at the dock, he said.

The dock is also designed for a third phase which includes bulk concentrate sheds, load out conveyors and ship loaders.

Golden Triangle Located in “The Golden Triangle,” perhaps the richest mining territory in North America, the town was once referred to as “The Gateway to the Klondike”. And, being a mining town, its population has fluctuated wildly from roughly 10,000 in the early 1800’s to 500 at present.

Unfortunately, as with much of Canada’s north, the Stewart area has suffered from a lack of investment in infrastructure and has no rail service, which is a drawback, but this will hopefully soon change. The port is ideally located for the importation of equipment for the mining and lumbering industry in Northern B.C. and Yukon as well as the Alberta oilsands.

It will also provide an export outlet for a long list of mines, some old and some still in the approval stages, including a grocery list of bulk mineral concentrates, as well as companies shipping forestry products such as logs and wood chips, oil, LNG and anthracite coal.

But, the largest of them all will be a massive gold and copper mine recently approved by the B.C. Government. To be built by Toronto-based Seabridge Gold Corp, the mine, located 65 kms north of Stewart is being referred to as the world’s largest undeveloped gold and copper mine in the world with an estimated cost of Cdn$5.3 billion.

And, like Stewart World Port the company is looking for a partner to help finance and operate the project.

The proposed KSM mine still has to clear federal government environmental hurdles and, as you might expect, is being strongly opposed by environmentalists and aboriginals in Alaska.