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NEWS: Williams Lake chapter report on hidden costs of Taseko mine at Fish Lake

Williams Lake chapter activist John Dressler.

Williams Lake chapter activist John Dressler.

The Vancouver-based mining company Taseko is seeking approval from a federal review panel for its New Prosperity open pit gold-copper mine on Tsilhqot’in territory in British Columbia. Under their plan, a tailings pond for the mine’s waste would be located two kilometres from Fish Lake, which would limit water flow into Fish Lake, while the outflow of the lake would be cut off by the mine pit downstream. Also under their plan, waste rock and earth from the mine pit would be trucked and stored north of Fish Lake.

This week, HQPrinceGeorge.com reported, “A new report commissioned by a series of groups including the Council of Canadians indicates the mine would cost taxpayers at least $42 million in road up-grades in and out of the mine site. Spokesman John Dressler said ‘the Environmental Impact Statement suggests that these roads are acceptable when in fact any examination suggests they are not going to be able to stand up to the extra traffic. It makes no allowance for costs to Taseko Mines so by implication it will be the Province that will bear that extra cost.’ The report was prepared by Geotechnical Engineer Don Mackinnon.”

In October 2012, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency federal review panel announced the groups and individuals accepted to have ‘interested party status’ at hearings on the ‘New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine Project’ at Fish Lake. Among the groups accepted – the Council of Canadians Williams Lake Chapter. At that time, the panel stated, “The Panel will establish the schedule and location for the different hearing sessions at a later date. The Panel will also explain how to register for specific sessions at that time.”

By November 2012, the Vancouver Sun reported, “A federal review panel has put the brakes on Taseko’s planned New Prosperity mine in the Chilcotin, citing a ‘major deficiency’ in the company’s environmental-impact statement. (Panel chair Bill Ross) said Taseko must now 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’.”

Late this year or in early 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada will hear a case that involves a claim by the Tsilhqot’in First Nation to 4,380 square kilometres of territory west of Williams Lake. Tribal chairman Joe Alphonse highlights the case is about Tsilhqot’in ownership of the land, including the area that Taseko seeks to mine.

For more on efforts to stop the New Prosperity mine, please go to http://canadians.org/blog/?s=%22fish+lake%22.