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Innovators: MINISTER TELLS DELEGATES THE PROVINCE IS A REAL-TIME ARCTIC LABORATORY
GENERAL GUEST ARTICLES
- PHOTO: Finance Minister Charlene Johnson.
Minister Johnson made the Keynote Address at 2014 Northern Lights Conference in Ottawa, February 1, 2014. The text of her speech as delivered and some images from her presentation are provided here.
The theme centres around the fact that NL's strategic location on international shipping lanes and northern sea routes, accessible ports, unmatched strength in cold ocean research and development, and world-renowned innovation and expertise in Arctic-like conditions has made this province an attractive North Atlantic base of operation for numerous well-known companies.
MINISTER TELLS DELEGATES THE PROVINCE IS A REAL-TIME ARCTIC LABORATORY
added on February 11, 2014 @ 11:30pm by wade
Good afternoon ladies and gentleman, friends and colleagues.
On behalf of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador – thank you for the invitation to speak today at the 2014 Northern Lights Conference. I am delighted to be here to discuss the exciting opportunities and future development potential in the Arctic, and share with you how Newfoundland and Labrador is your path to the Arctic and an ideal partner for related activities.
A special thank you and acknowledgement to: President Leo; Ministers Gary Mitchell, Darryl Shiwak, Daniel Pottle and Johannes Lampe; and, officials from the Nunatsiavut Government and Nunatsiavut Group of Companies for sponsoring today’s lunch. I would also like to congratulate the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce and the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce for organizing yet another successful event and achieving a new record in participation.
Congratulations to the Labrador North Chamber of Commerce and Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce for organizing yet another successful event.
The Arctic can be defined in a variety of ways:
• Geographically, as anything north of 60 degrees – shown by the yellow circle on this map; and,
• Climatically, as having average temperatures in July less than 10 degrees Celsius, as shown by the area outlined by the red line.
By these definitions, Newfoundland and Labrador is not Arctic.
What we are though, is your ideal path to the Arctic. A province in the North Atlantic surrounded by
cold water and extreme weather conditions, where experts are solving Arctic problems with innovative solutions. Because of our geographic location, Newfoundland and Labrador is well positioned for future opportunities in the Arctic. We are also strategically located on international shipping lanes and northern sea routes, making us one of only a few paths to the Arctic.
The water surrounding Newfoundland and Labrador is colder than anywhere else south of 60 degrees. It is even colder than the waters near Norway and in parts of Alaska, Greenland and Iceland. This combination of cold temperatures, strategic location, operating conditions similar to the Arctic and local expertise makes Newfoundland and Labrador quite unique and an ideal proving ground. Erik Finnstrom, Senior Vice-President of Exploration for North America at Statoil Canada, has referred to Newfoundland and Labrador as “a real-time Arctic laboratory.”
Rooted deep in our culture as a guide to lead the way and mark important places, the inuksuk also symbolizes our location on the path to the Arctic. It is a symbol of strength and determination. A testament to those who have prevailed for thousands of years in one of the world’s harshest environments.
From the Dorset Palaeo-Eskimo peoples who lived along Newfoundland and Labrador’s coastal regions more than 2500 years ago… to the legacy of the Vikings that reaches back more than 1000 years ago, we have lived and thrived in the cold, harsh, ice-prone environment that surrounds us. We have embraced our home on iceberg alley - and are proud of it.
This picture is of the massive ice island that grounded on the northeast coast of Newfoundland in August 2011. It was 62 square kilometers in size, but was only part of a much larger 250 square kilometer ice island that broke off the Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland on August 5, 2010.
We have been fortunate that as a result of our centuries old relationship with the sea, almost every aspect of life in Newfoundland and Labrador has been influenced by the ocean. We are not just arriving in the Arctic. We have been there for centuries, over which time we have developed innovative and dependable solutions to Arctic challenges.
In recent years, Newfoundland and Labrador has become synonymous with offshore oil and gas. We know this industry and we are changing how to explore and endure in demanding cold ocean environments. During this time, our oil and gas innovators have experienced the gamut of what the ocean can offer: drifting sea ice, towering icebergs and colossal North Atlantic waves. Together, we have learned to operate successfully and with an emphasis on safety in Arctic and sub-Arctic environments - our experience speaks for itself.
The Hibernia Gravity Base Structure shown on the screen is the world’s largest offshore oil platform, and the first offshore oil structure designed to resist the impact of sea ice and icebergs, as you can see from the unique design of the concrete at the base of the structure.
Labrador is rich with an abundance of minerals and metals that have been mined for more than half a century. With more than one dozen active mines, major industrial investment, and more exploration and development on the horizon in the Central Mineral Belt, our multi-billion dollar mining industry continues to drive economic development in the North.
In fact, forty-seven percent of Canada’s iron ore production and twelve percent of Canada’s mineral production comes from Labrador through large scale operations like Vale in Voisey’s Bay and the Iron Ore Company of Canada. Newfoundland and Labrador’s well known history of harvesting fish from the frigid North Atlantic has also made us an ideal partner in the development of commercial fisheries in the Arctic. Many of you will be familiar with the longstanding partnerships between Nunavut interests and Newfoundland and Labrador.
Inspired by the legacy of the province’s explorers, innovators, and Aboriginal elders, Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have used traditional knowledge and expertise to pioneer the path to offshore resource development in the middle of Iceberg Alley, blaze new trails in unmanned vehicle technology and even delve into space with satellite-based iceberg monitoring.
We understand the challenges of working in what others call harsh environments because we call it home. In Newfoundland and Labrador, we turn what many view as “challenges” into opportunities and competitive advantages.
Our mature shipping industry and seasoned marine and offshore supply and service capabilities have led to the development of a strong, highly-capable sector of over 500 companies strong, that can meet necessary operational requirements, no matter where, no matter when.
For example: Operated by Fednav, the Umiak I, shown here, was constructed for the Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company to transport ore from the Voisey’s Bay Mine in Labrador. It is the most powerful ice-breaking bulk carrier in the world. It was also featured on the documentary series “Mighty Ships” in 2011 as seen on the Discovery Channel.
As activity in the Arctic increases and new opportunities emerge, Newfoundland and Labrador’s world-class academic and training institutions are poised to respond to the rising demand for innovative technology solutions, information and highly skilled workers.
Memorial University has positioned itself as Canada’s oceans university, and has made the Arctic a strategic research theme. For example, Dr. Claude “Daily” of the university, in collaboration with the National Research Council, BMT Fleet Technology Limited, the American Bureau of Shipping, Samsung Heavy Industries, Rolls-Royce and Husky Energy – is working to design ships and structures for polar regions that can withstand the icy marine conditions of the north.
D r. Brian Veitch of Memorial University, in collaboration with Aalto University in Finland, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University of Helsinki, recently won an international competition sponsored and funded by Lloyds Register Foundation in the UK to proceed with a multi-year project aimed at improving the safety of Arctic shipping and marine operations by developing risk-based design methods.
We are also working with private sector investors that are interested in pursuing R&D to meet challenges in the Arctic, especially with regard to vessel design. Another great example of collaboration is the recently signed memorandum of understanding between Memorial University and the University of the Arctic. As a result, Dr. Keith Chaulk of Memorial University’s Labrador Institute, was appointed as Vice-President Indigenous of UArctic.
Memorial University’s Fisheries and Marine Institute is also known worldwide for its development and provision of specialized training in areas of fisheries, marine navigation, coastal planning and safety. The state of the art, full-motion simulator shown here is one of only two like it in the world. It is able to replicate operations conducted on a ship’s navigation bridge in various scenarios, including ice-covered waters, and has proven to be a valuable instructing tool. The Marine Institute has been active in Northern Labrador and the Arctic for over twenty-five years and is a leading education partner in Canada’s Arctic and other circumpolar countries, such as Iceland, Norway and Greenland. They are also particularly well known for their partnership with the Arctic College in Nunavut to provide fisheries and marine training.
As the largest post-secondary training institution in Atlantic Canada, the College of the North Atlantic is also a leader in providing customized training and essential skills to Aboriginal communities. With a campus in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and a new campus in Labrador City, the College of the North Atlantic offers student support and a progressive, new approach to delivering programs that are driven by and reflective of local industry and employer needs.
Through their Aboriginal Education Policy, the college has placed a significant importance on maintaining close connections with local communities and successfully supporting northern students through to program completion.
Not only are Newfoundland and Labrador’s institutions recognized leaders in providing programs that incorporate Inuit language and culture, they are also very focused on research and development. The Centre for Cold Ocean Resources Engineering , or C-CORE, is an internationally recognized, research and development organization headquartered on the campus of Memorial University and with offices here in Ottawa and in Calgary.
Originally established in 1975 as a partnership between Memorial University and the oil and gas industry, C-CORE is now a multi-disciplinary organization with world-leading capability in remote sensing, ice engineering and geotechnical engineering. C-CORE is developing solutions to address challenges facing natural resource development in ice-prone regions and has been involved in projects all over the circumpolar Arctic as shown by the red areas on this
The centrifuge at C-CORE is one of the largest centrifuges in the world and the only one in North America that can freeze and thaw test samples to model cold region phenomena – sometimes up to a 20 year cycle. C-CORE is also home to two Arctic centres of excellence: LOOKNorth and CARD.
LOOKNorth is Canada’s only Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research dedicated to remote sensing innovation in support of Northern resource development.
CARD is also unique in Canada: it is the only independent, industry-guided research centre that is focused on addressing challenges that impede safe and sustainable development of Arctic hydrocarbons.
Both centres are highly regarded and attract renowned researchers from around the world.
The National Research Council’s Arctic Program is developing technologies to ensure sustainable, low-impact development of the North while increasing the quality of life for people living in the north.
In St. John’s, the NRC houses world-class experts and facilities, such as the offshore engineering basin, shown here, that can create waves up to one meter high, a 200 meter tow tank and…the longest ice tank in the world. Local experts worked with the Canadian Coast Guard to evaluate and test the hull form of Canada’s newest Polar-class icebreaker. Their results will underpin the creation of Canada’s largest, strongest and most powerful icebreaker to date.
Businesses are also investing in R&D to better understand and prepare for the challenges of development in the Arctic, which is dependent on demonstrating viability and proven safety.
RDC Video Elements Newfoundland and Labrador is your path to the Arctic and an ideal staging ground for Arctic-related activities.
As the largest, natural cold-ocean research laboratory on the planet - in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Arctic comes to us! Our province is home to many northern communities and Aboriginal peoples with a wealth of traditional knowledge and unique experience that is invaluable to informing decision makers and future economic development.
Partnership and collaboration have been key to our success and will continue to be important to sustaining economic growth and enabling northern communities to thrive as opportunities in the Arctic are explored and developed.
Hiring local people and working with local partners is critical. Aboriginal businesses and industry must benefit. Collaboration between governments is also very important. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Nunatsiavut Government have developed a good relationship. Stemming from work to secure benefits from Voisey’s Bay, to recent cabinet-to-cabinet meetings that underscored the necessity for collaboration.
Through the Provincial Government’s Arctic Opportunities Initiative being led by my department, we will continue to strengthen this relationship to ensure that the knowledge and experience of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Aboriginal People remains a fundamental building block as we move forward.
The “development for the people of the north” is Canada’s theme for its chairmanship of the Arctic Council. It is very consistent with the guiding principles of our Arctic Opportunities Initiative and Newfoundland and Labrador is looking forward to working with Minister Aglukkaq and her officials, where possible, to meet our mutual objectives.
Make no mistake we are globally-minded and global players. Our strategic location on international shipping lanes and northern sea routes, accessible ports, unmatched strength in cold ocean research and development, and world-renowned expertise in Arctic-like conditions have made Newfoundland and Labrador a North Atlantic base of operation for numerous of well-known companies.
We recognize the importance of moving forward in a manner that is collaborative, environmentally responsible, sustainable and respectful. By working together we can overcome many of the challenges facing development in the Arctic, and we remain committed to working with industry, academia, northern communities, Aboriginal peoples and all levels of government.
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak here today. This is an exciting time with great potential and we look forward to continuing to work together. The edge of the new frontier starts on our shores. Before I finish, I would like to invite you all to visit our booth upstairs. If you haven’t already seen it, I encourage you to do so. It is a new booth that we proudly debuted here at Northern Lights that uniquely and creatively positions Newfoundland and Labrador as your ideal path to the Arctic.