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Media mogul David Black says funds in place for proposed Kitimat oil refinery

B.C. newspaper mogul David Black says a group of U.S. investors has committed funding for his plan to build a $25-billion oil refinery near the city of Kitimat on the province's northern coast.

"I got into this to ensure we don't threaten the coast by putting bitumen into tankers," Black told members of the Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.

"How solid is it? I would say it's 100 per cent," he said.

Black added details still have to be worked out, but a memorandum of understanding has been signed and more details about the investors will be revealed in the coming weeks.

"I'm sure we'll get through to the finish," he told chamber members.

Black has previously said he envisioned his refinery proposal as the last stop along the controversial Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline from Alberta's oil sands, and said he hoped his plan would shift the debate about that project.

But he now says he'll take Alberta bitumen any way he can get it, either by pipeline or by rail.

He told the Vancouver gathering his facility could be in service by 2020.

Councillors in Kitimat have indicated they could support Black's refinery plan -- if the development meets certain conditions.

In comments made last August, Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan said if Black's refinery is environmentally safe and survives a review process, her council would condone it.

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