Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow speaks at protest outside the Taseko annual meeting.
The Vancouver Sun reports:
Indigenous people from mining communities through-out the Americas joined the Tsilhqot’in First Nation on Friday outside Vancouver’s Terminal City Club in a show of solidarity against the proposed New Prosperity mine west of Williams Lake.
Inside the club, which was heavily protected by police, New Prosperity developer Taseko Mines was holding its annual general meeting.
The protesters wanted share-holders to know that they will not back down in their opposition to the gold-copper mine, which is going through a second environmental assessment after a previous plan was rejected by the federal government. The company says the new plan preserves Fish Lake, an important cultural site, a source of food for the Tsilhqot’in and the flashpoint for the opposition to the mine. The Tsilhqot’in disagree that Fish Lake will be preserved and say the company has not adequately consulted with them.
“Shareholders beware, we will not back down. It is not worth your investment,” said Marilyn Baptiste, chief of Xeni Gwet’in, the Tsilhqot’in band most affected by the mine.
Indigenous people from other communities affected by Canadian mines, mostly in Latin America, took part in the pro-test, saying most of the mining activity affecting them is being done by Canadian mining companies.
“Throughout Latin America, we are organizing resistance against Canadian mining companies,” said Gustavo Castro, coordinator of the Mexican Network of People Affected by Mining.
The international groups were in Vancouver attending a conference hosted by the Council of Canadians called Shout Out Against Mining Injustice.
Taseko took the unusual step of closing its AGM to news media, and a company spokesperson said there will be no comment from the company on either the meeting or the protest.
However, New Prosperity did come up at the meeting, according to the company’s website, where speaking notes for president Russell Hallbauer were posted.
“These revised plans address the environmental concerns identified in the original environmental assessment process and importantly, includes the preservation of Fish Lake,” the speaking notes say. “We are actively working on this project, which holds exciting potential for the company’s stake-holders, including shareholders and local communities.”
A decision on the second environmental review is expected by November.
The full article is at http://www.vancouversun.com/touch/technology/story.html?id=6720035.