The Manitoba government is moving forward with a silica sand extraction project in Hollow Water First Nation and a solar glass manufacturing facility in Selkirk, which will create more green jobs and advance the province in clean energy delivery.

“These projects will create good Manitoba jobs in the trades for Manitobans right here in Selkirk, as well as in Hollow Water and surrounding communities,” said Manitoba Premier Wab Kinew. “This announcement is part of our government’s critical mineral strategy and will bring a significant economic benefit to Manitoba while growing our low-carbon economy.”

The proponent for the projects, Canadian Premium Sand, has signalled its intention to use silica sand extracted near Hollow Water First Nation in the Selkirk manufacturing facility to produce up to 800 tonnes of solar glass per day, a key component in the production of solar energy panels. The project will be North America’s only low-carbon patterned solar glass manufacturing facility and will appeal directly to countries like the United States that are looking to onshore manufacturing inputs.

“Manitoba has the opportunity to be a leader in clean energy, and this project will help Manitoba meet our net-zero targets,” said Manitoba’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Tracy Schmidt. “Ensuring the safety of Manitobans and the protection of our environment is my top priority as the environment and climate change minister. Any time we can do that, while also creating good jobs for Manitobans, is a win-win.”

The Manitoba Bureau of Statistics has assessed the overall economic impact of these projects which it reports would create 250 direct jobs for Manitobans as well as 600 to 700 jobs during the construction phase. The extraction project is estimated to create another 30 jobs near Hollow Water First Nation. The projects are estimated to generate $200 million in provincial taxes over a 10-year period, with similarly positive impact on provincial GDP and labour income, the minister noted.

“The Canadian Premium Sand project will be transformational for Selkirk, our region, and the province as a whole,” said Mayor Larry Johannson, City of Selkirk. “Not only will it see almost one billion dollars invested into our community, creating 250 direct jobs in Selkirk and generating tens of millions of dollars in local economic activity each year, but it will make this region a vital hub in North America’s new low-carbon economy and be a magnet, attracting other commercial and manufacturing investments. We are excited to see the Canadian Premium Sand project reach this critical milestone.”

The Hollow Water First Nation and Selkirk projects were extensively reviewed by department experts and were the subject of Crown-Indigenous consultation, the minister noted, adding that the projects received Environment Act licence approvals between 2019 and 2023.

Hollow Water First Nation and the Community of Seymourville have entered into confidential agreements with the Canadian Premium Sand to ensure economic participation, oversight and environmental and heritage resource stewardship, the minister said.

Featured image credit: Getty Images

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