Indigenous-led prospective buyer 'not going away' even as Trans Mountain costs spiral

Still wants to buy pipeline

An Indigenous-led initiative says it is still pursuing ownership of the Trans Mountain pipeline, in spite of the project's ballooning price tag.

Project Reconciliation managing director Stephen Mason says his group isn't going away just because Trans Mountain Corp. announced last week that construction costs for the project have risen to $30.9 billion.

The Trans Mountain pipeline was bought by the federal government for $4.5 billion in 2018 after previous owner Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. threatened to scrap the pipeline's planned expansion project in the face of environmentalist opposition.

Construction on the pipeline is still ongoing, and is expected to be completed later this year.

The federal government has indicated it does not wish to be the long-term owner of the pipeline, and has said it is open to the idea of Indigenous ownership.

But due to existing contractual agreements with oil shippers, only 20 to 25 per cent of the rising capital costs of the project can be passed on to oil companies in the form of increased tolls.

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