Canada aboriginal group members reject Petronas offer

  • Business
  • Wednesday, 13 May 2015

VANCOUVER: Members of a Canadian aboriginal community have voted to reject a deal worth roughly C$1 billion ($832.3 million) that sought their support for a Petronas-led liquefied natural gas export terminal, setting the stage for the band's council to turn down the offer.

Members of the Lax Kw'alaams First Nation voted overwhelmingly against the proposed benefit package in a poll held late on Tuesday at a Vancouver hotel, according to messages posted on social media by individuals who attended.

"100 percent Vote No!!," one Lax Kw'alaams member wrote on Facebook, and posted a video of the entire room standing up in opposition to the offer.

The rejection was the third in three votes by members of the community rejecting the offer, creating uncertainty around the proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG project.

The rejection does not mean the project cannot go ahead, but it could pose a challenge for Malaysia's Petronas, which is looking to smooth relations with aboriginal groups as it moves toward a final investment decision on the $11 billion project.

The mayor and council of Lax Kw'alaams are set to announce their final decision on the benefit package on Wednesday.

The Lax Kw'alaams are one of several aboriginal communities in talks with Petronas and its partners on the export terminal and associated pipeline, part of a $35 billion investment in Canadian gas.

The offer, as outlined in a memo by the Lax Kw'alaams council and posted online, includes some C$1 billion in cash from Petronas over a 40-year period, along with a land package deal from the provincial government worth roughly C$108 million. - Reuters

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