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Canada to ask for tax-free corridors through Alaska Panhandle

Arctic & Northern History

The Alaska-Canada Boundary Dispute

The Ottawa Journal - Monday, January 8, 1954

U.S. Holds Key to Vast BC Wealth - Canada Seeks Corridors to Treasure Land of Minerals

    VANCOUVER, Jan. 7. - (CP) - The keys to the strong box holding untold wealth in Northern British Columbia may be in the hands of the United States.

    The slumbering giant, the BC northland, is stirring, and Canada may ask the U.S. for corridors to open new gateways to the sea through the Alaska Panhandle.

Door to Treasure Land.

    The corridors would open the way for development of a fabulous treasure land of minerals, power and timber areas.

    Canadian industrial and mining interests are behind the proposals for several corridors to provide access to deep-sea ports on the Pacific.

    The plan has been discussed in Ottawa and Washington.

    The executive of the BC and Yukon Chamber of Mines backs the idea, supporting industrial and mining interests.

    Governor B. Frank Heintzleman of Alaska is interested. He will make recommendations when he attends a conference in Washington later this month.

    For the territory, Frobisher Ltd., an exploration and development company with world-wide chemical and metallurgical interests, has suggested a staggering scheme that would rewrite the northland pages in geography books.

    It involves moving three towns, re-routing the Alaska Highway, and shifting the White Pass-Yukon Railway.

    The plan, with an estimated cost of more than $1,000,000,000, would lay the base for the world's largest chemical and metallurgical industry.

    Covering 17,000 square miles, and three lakes emptying into the Yukon river and a hydro potential of 5,000,000 horsepower, it dwarfs a somewhat similar proposal by the Aluminum Company of America, shrugged off by the Canadian Government.

Many Stake Claims.

    A number of companies have staked claims to what are believed vast copper fields in the area.

    Frobisher men staked 72 claims on a copper deposit 4,000 feet long, 100 feet wide. Granby Mining, Smelting and Power Company has staked others.

    The newly-formed Cassiar Asbestos Corporation reports it has spent at least $2,000,000 opening up a property referred to as a "mountain of asbestos".

    Other companies working in the area are the Conwest Exploration Co., United Keno Hill, the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co, and Noranda Mines Ltd.

    The Alaska Panhandle is a strip of coastland running from the territory of Alaska to within 50 miles of Prince Rupert, BC, 500 miles north of Vancouver.

    Up to 50 miles wide, it is about 450 miles long and represents nearly half the coastline between the southern and northern extremities of BC.

    The same regulations governing Canadians entering the United States are in force when crossing the Panhandle. Goods and supplies must be carried through in bond.

Vital Points.

    In a resolution supporting the corridors plan, the executive of the BC and Yukon Chamber of Mines drew attention to the following points:

    1. It is indicated Canada, the Yukon and Alaska are on the threshold of an era of great industrial expansion and ment.

    2. Rich mineral resources the Yukon and Northern BC are receiving increasing attention by some of the largest companies in Canada, the United States and Great Britain.

    3. It has been stated "on good authority" the northern half of BC and the Yukon possess tremendous hydro-electric potential.

    4. It is "vital" to the defence of the country and to provide a permanent and sound foundation for future industrial development that these deep-water ports and corridors be granted.

    Establishment of the Alaska Panhandle boundary dates back to the turn of the century.

    The United States purchased Alaska from Russia but the conditions setting forth the border were vague and open to interpretation.

    During the Klondike gold rush, Canadian miners flocked across the newly-purchased U.S. territory and difficulties arose.

    The dispute was referred to a six-man joint commission and present boundary lines were established.