Indigenous-led group submits preliminary proposal to buy Trans Mountain pipeline

FILE PHOTO: The Westridge Marine Terminal, the terminus of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, is seen in an aerial photo over Burrard Inlet in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada June 29, 2019. Picture taken June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Redmond - RC1E023A2900

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - An indigenous-led group has submitted a preliminary proposal to the Canadian government outlining its plans to bid for a majority stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project, a spokeswoman for the group said on Friday.

Project Reconciliation has previously said it wants to buy a 51% stake in the existing pipeline and planned expansion project for C$6.9 billion ($5.24 billion).

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government bought Trans Mountain last year and approved the expansion in June. The project will triple capacity on the pipeline, which carries crude from Alberta’s oil sands to British Columbia’s coast, and help boost Canada’s oil industry.

Project Reconciliation spokeswoman Sarah Del Giallo said in a statement the group has not yet submitted a formal bid but looked forward to discussing its proposal with the federal government.

The Trans Mountain expansion is opposed by some indigenous groups but supported by others, who see it as a chance for indigenous people to benefit from Canada’s resources.

“This is a pivotal moment for indigenous peoples. If we get it right, we can build strong, indigenous economies to give our communities the resources they need to thrive. We look forward to continuing discussions with the government over the coming months,” Delbert Wapass, Project Reconciliation’s executive chairman, said in the statement.

Reporting by Nia Williams; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall