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Harper announces wind energy project for Nunavik mine

In this Oct. 12, 2012 file photo wind turbines produce green energy in Nauen near Berlin, Germany.

Ferdinand Ostrop/AP

Stephen Harper used the final stop in his annual northern Canadian tour to champion a project that would harness wind energy to help power a massive nickel mining operation in Quebec's Nunavik region.

Remote communities and industry such as Xtrata Nickel Inc.'s Raglan Mine are dependent on diesel-based energy generation today.

The Harper government has given $720,000 to TUGLIQ Energy Co. and Xstrata Nickel Inc. to study the feasibility of integrating wind energy into an existing diesel-based electricity system in Nunavik.

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The proposed system would generate energy from wind and store surplus wind energy through hydrogen, providing a stable and sustainable source of energy at Raglan Mine.

If the plan works, a clean energy project could be operating at the mine by March 2016.

"Canadians ... expect that Canadian resources will be developed with future generations in mind ... in ways that make sensible use of energy and respect the environment," Mr. Harper said.

"If this technology works here in the way we hope it will, the implications for power generation across the North are enormous. In other words, it could be a 'Eureka!' moment."

This project is one of the 55 that aim to produce and use energy in a cleaner, more efficient way. Support is being provided through Natural Resources Canada's ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative.

Raglan Mine, located in the sub-arctic permafrost of Northern Quebec, was brought into production in 1997. Raglan employs almost 1,000 full-time workers, many of whom come from local communities.

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