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The Council stands with the Tsilhqot’in vs Taseko’s ‘exploratory’ activities

The Council of Canadians took part in this February 2010 protest in Williams Lake against the proposed Prosperity Mine.

The Council of Canadians stands with the Tsilhqot’in Nation in their opposition to Taseko’s proposed activities on their territory.

The Georgia Straight reports that B.C. Supreme Court Justice Carla Forth has ruled that Taseko Mines can continue with exploration in an area under a provincial permit granted by the outgoing Christy Clark government. The Narwhal notes this would include “a 50-person work camp in an area considered a sacred site by the First Nation … 122 exploratory drill holes, 367 excavated test pits and 20 kilometres of seismic lines”.

The article highlight, “The federal government [has] contended [that] the activities are not truly exploratory, but instead, are detailed design work for the proposed New Prosperity Mine – a plan that has already been rejected. The mine, proposed for an area 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, cannot be built without federal approval.”

In terms of background on this, the Georgia Straight explains, “In 2010 the federal government rejected the Prosperity Mine, citing its impact on fish and fish habitats, future grizzly-bear populations, and Aboriginal rights and title. In 2014, a federal review dismissed Taseko’s revised application, ruling that the open-pit copper-gold project would still cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

Provincially, that article adds, “The former B.C. Liberal government … granted an environmental assessment certificate in 2010. …In July 2016, Taseko obtained a permit from the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines and a licence under the Forest Act to begin preparations for an exploration program. This was allowed even though the federal government had vetoed the mine. Then on July 17, 2017 – the day before John Horgan was sworn in as B.C. premier – the B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines ‘issued an amendment’ to the permit to authorize exploration and reclamation permits, according to Forth’s ruling.”

The Council of Canadians has stood with the Tsilhqot’in Nation in defence of its territory, notably Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), since October 2008.

Over the years we opposed the Schedule 2 provision in the Fisheries Act that put Teztan Biny at risk, have spoken against the proposed Prosperity and New Prosperity mines, helped facilitate meetings with the federal government on this issue, presented at the federal review panel hearings on it, posted online action alerts, expressed our solidarity in media statements, protested outside Taseko annual shareholder meetings, delivered petitions, helped with fundraising, and were interveners at the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s historic Supreme Court challenge for Title on their territory.

The proposed mine is adjacent to the area recognized in the Title case.