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NEWS: Revised Fish Lake mine proposal now with Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

The Williams Lake Tribune reports, “Taseko Mines Ltd. hopes its new Prosperity mine proposal will be approved by the federal government. …The federal government asked Taseko to redesign the project and address the environmental concerns raised by the federal assessment. Taseko is confident it can address those issues and has submitted a new project description.”

“Taseko says the new proposal…reduces environmental impacts, preserves Fish Lake and enables all mine operations and related components to be contained within one single watershed. The company says it was never the plan to use Fish Lake as a storage facility for tailings — Taseko’s plans have been to build a specific facility for that purpose. …Today, with long-term copper and gold prices having doubled, the project can bear the burden of the additional $300 million it costs to save the lake.”

“The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) now has the Prosperity project description which, at this point, is considered a draft. CEAA reviews the project description and may seek further information from Taseko. There is no fixed time limit for this. Acceptance by CEAA that the project description as complete marks the beginning of a 90-day period within which the agency posts a Notice of Commencement (NoC) and posts the project description on its website. Then CEAA, in discussions with other departments, the province, and First Nations, decides on the nature and type of environmental assessment process to be used. The time it takes from this point for the federal government to complete its environmental assessment process is depends on the process selected.”

In February, David Williams, president of the Friends of the Nemaiah Valley, stated that, “The Tsilhqot’in National Government, and many others, too, continue to oppose the very idea of Prosperity mine, whether it destroys Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) or not. However such a mine were to be developed, the impacts on the local ecosystem and Tsihqot’in culture and society would be devastating. …The central fact that continues to elude government, the corporate sector, and especially the mainstream media, is that aboriginal rights and the sovereignty issue that underlies them must be recognized. …If the mine, indeed any resource extraction, were to proceed without prior consultation and accommodation, and we believe even permission, from the First Nation on whose lands the resources are situated, an illegal act will have occurred.”

For a review of our past work supporting the efforts to defend Fish Lake from destruction, please go to http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=5187. We will be consulting with the Tsilhqot’in National Government to determine the next steps needed given this development.