Northern Ontario's largest hydroelectric project in 50 years is now fully in service thanks to a unique partnership between the Moose Cree First Nation and Ontario Power Generation (OPG).

Six new units on the Lower Mattagami River will add 438 MWs of greenhouse gas-free electricity – or enough capacity to meet nearly three times the peak demand of Thunder Bay.

"I’ve visited the Lower Mattagami site and have a great appreciation of the size and scope of this project as well as the people who have brought the project in on time and on budget," said Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy. "The Lower Mattagami Project will deliver long-term results for our electricity system while providing clean, reliable and affordable electricity for Ontarians."

"The project has helped rejuvenate the Moose Cree community and given our economy a much-needed boost," said Moose Cree First Nation Chief Norm Hardisty Jr. "Many of our members will be able to use the training and new skills they developed to work on other infrastructure projects."

"This one-of-a-kind success story illustrates the power of partnership, a shared vision and solid project management," said OPG President and CEO Tom Mitchell. "I’m very proud of the many workers, contractors, our Moose Cree partners and OPG employees for their incredible efforts. Successfully completing a project of this magnitude happens because good, skilled people dedicate themselves to getting the job done right."

Key Facts:

The $2.6 billion Lower Mattagami Project involved redeveloping four of OPG’s existing hydro stations on the Mattagami River.
The stations are located about 70km north of Kapuskasing. The Smoky Falls station went into service in 1931, Little Long in 1963, Harmon in 1965, and Kipling in 1966. Smoky Falls was replaced with a new 3-unit station built alongside the old station. A third unit was added to each of the other plants.
As part of the of the Amisk-oo-Skow agreement, the Moose Cree First Nation will own a 25 per cent equity stake in the project.
Moose Cree businesses have also been awarded over $300 million worth of sub- contracts since the project began four years ago and, at peak construction, 1,800 people worked on the project including over 250 First Nation and Métis workers.

LOWER MATTAGAMI HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT OVERVIEW

The story of the Lower Mattagami Hydroelectric Project dates back to the late 1980’s. To meet increasing electricity demand, Ontario wanted to maximize hydroelectric power on the Lower Mattagami River. When OPG’s predecessor company (Ontario Hydro) purchased Smoky Falls Generating Station in 1991, project planning procceeded and, in 1994, the Province of Ontario approved the environmental assessment. The project’s aim was to maximize the water use to generate more electricity. The project was put on hold when economic conditions and demand forecasts changed.

In 2005 OPG was given a mandate to increase its hydroelectric capacity so as to provide more clean, renewable power for the province. The Lower Mattagami Hydroelectric Project was selected as one of the priority projects and planning resumed.

Achieving a partnership with the Moose Cree First Nation was crucial to moving the project forward. OPG worked closely with the Moose Cree Chief and Council from the very first stages of approvals and formed a partnership with the First Nation in 2009. Under the Amisk-oo-Skow Agreement, the Moose Cree will have a 25 per cent equity interest in the project. A typical hydro station remains in service for 100 years or more, so the Moose Cree community will have a revenue stream for many years. The agreement also provided valuable training and employment opportunities, which helped rejuvenate the Moose Cree community with a much-needed economic boost. Moose Cree businesses were awarded over $300 million worth of project contracts and, at peak construction, over 250 First Nation and Métis workers were employed on the project.

Northern Ontario Job Creation
The $2.6 billion dollar project has had a positive impact on the northeast economy. Over the course of the project about $1 billion in contracts was awarded to Ontario businesses, including over $350 million in the North. Hundreds of northern residents worked directly on the project with many benefitting from indirect impacts. In total about 1,800 people worked on the project at peak. OPG’s socio-economic study determined that 0.65 indirect jobs would be created for every direct job created by the project.

Original Stations
The four generating stations on the Mattagami River,from south to north are: Little Long, Smoky Falls, Harmon, and Kipling. The stations are located about 70 kilometres northeast of Kapuskasing and about 150 kilometres upstream of Moose Factory and the Town of Moosonee. The oldest station, Smoky Falls was built in 1931 and had a capacity of 52 megawatts (one megawatt produces enough electricity to power almost 1,000 homes). This station was older and smaller than the other three. The new more efficient Smoky Falls Generating Station has a capacity of 267 megawatts and is better able to use the same water to produce more electricity. New generating units were also added at Little Long, Harmon and Kipling.