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Aerial shot of Sarita Bay, B.C., the proposed site of the Steelhead LNG plant.Handout/Handout

Steelhead LNG says its export licences have been approved – just weeks after the company and a First Nation announced a proposed liquefied natural gas project north of Victoria.

Steelhead says the National Energy Board has approved a 25-year licence for the annual export of up to six million tonnes of LNG from a proposed floating liquefaction and export terminal in Saanich Inlet.

The Vancouver-based company says the board has approved four other 25-year licences to export LNG from a project that is still in the exploration stage with a First Nation southwest of Port Alberni.

Steelhead CEO Nigel Kuzemko says there is still a great deal of work to ensure community, government and regulatory support and approval for both projects.

Malahat First Nation CEO Lawrence Lewis says the agreement with Steelhead to develop the floating LNG plant near Victoria is a chance to protect aboriginal rights while practising environmental stewardship.

The Sarita Bay LNG project is still in the feasibility stage but Steelhead says the Huu-ay-aht First Nation voted last year in favour of continuing to explore its development on its Vancouver Island lands.