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NEWS: Taseko faces “slew of additional questions” about proposed mine near Fish Lake

The Vancouver Sun reports that Taseko Mines now faces “a slew of additional questions” from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency review panel about its proposed New Prosperity Mine near Fish Lake and “owes an outstanding $392,694 from its $1.6-million federal bill for conducting the first environmental assessment on its Prosperity mine proposal…” The questions are reportedly outlined in “a 77-page deficiency statement” and panel chair Bill Ross says they must be answered in a “complete and timely manner”.

In late-November, it had also been reported that, “Ross said Taseko must provide information related to the identified deficiency along with other pending requests before the panel can determine if the environmental-impact statement is ‘sufficient to proceed to public hearing’.”

According to today’s news report, the review panel is asking for more information, in part, on:

  • A draft habitat compensation plan, mitigation measures, and effects related to rare plants, ecological communities of conservation concern, species at risk, and grizzly bear core habitat.
  • The health effects of the project, including noise, light and dust, on workers, people visiting the area for recreation, and on aboriginal people making traditional use of the area.
  • Potential effects of increased hunting associated with development of the mine.
  • Fisheries values and fish habitat in Little Fish Lake.
  • Loss of old forest along the mine’s 125-kilometre transmission line,
  • Potential effects of disturbance of arsenic-bearing soils on air and water quality, fish, vegetation, wildlife and human health.
  • Operation of a water-treatment facility.

The article notes, “The company’s original plan, which would have drained Fish Lake and stored waste rock and dirt on the dry lake bed, was rejected in 2010 by a federal panel due to ‘significant adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat, on navigation, on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by first nations,’ as well as adverse cumulative effects on grizzly bears in the south Chilcotin.” The newspaper has also reported, “Under the new plan, waste rock and dirt will now be trucked and stored north of Fish Lake. A tailings pond, which will store potentially acid-producing mill waste, will be moved upstream two kilometres from Fish Lake. The new plan will alter the watershed’s natural drainage. The tailings pond will limit water flow into Fish Lake, and the outflow of the lake will be cut off by the open mine pit downstream.”

On December 4, up to 260 people were at Williams Lake City Council to express their opposition to the mine. J.P. Laplante of the Tsilhqot’in National Government noted that they were proud to have alongside them many people, including Chief Garry John (St’at’imc Tribal Chair and Chief of Chalath – and Board member of the Council of Canadians) and the local Council of Canadians Williams Lake chapter. Should the review proceed to the public hearing stage, the Williams Lake chapter will be voicing our shared opposition to the mine at that time as well.

More about the campaign to protect Fish Lake from this mine can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22fish+lake%22.