Keeyask Hydropower Limited Partnership (KHLP) has begun construction of the 695MW Keeyask Generating Station in northern Manitoba.
The project is a collaborative effort between Manitoba Hydro and four Manitoba First Nations including Tataskweyak Cree Nation, War Lake First Nation, York Factory First Nation and Fox Lake Cree Nation.
The project will be designed to provide renewable hydroelectricity to meet future demand in Manitoba and in export markets.
War Lake First Nation chief Betsy Kennedy said, "On behalf of War Lake First Nation, I am pleased to see the Keeyask Project receive regulatory approval.
"The Keeyask Project includes significant training and employment opportunities, enabling our businesses and Members to not only earn valuable experience on Keeyask, but to join the mainstream economy of Manitoba and empower them to secure ongoing employment after Keeyask is constructed."
As part of a deal signed in 2009, Manitoba Hydro will provide administration and management services for KHLP.
Manitoba Hydro will own at least 75% of the equity of the partnership while the four First Nations together will own rights up to 25% of the partnership.
The Keeyask Generating Station will provide an average of 4.4 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy annually with the first generator due to be operational in 2019, with all seven units operational by 2020 at a total cost of $6.5bn.
The generating station will be located on the Nelson River approximately 30km west of Gillam, within the Split Lake Resource Management Area.
York Factory First Nation chief Ted Bland said: "We are committed to fulfilling our First Nation-led contracts, to reaching employment targets, and to meeting our commitments as environmental stewards in the years to come."