VANCOUVER – Last week the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) released its findings in the review of Taseko Mines Ltd.’s proposed “New Prosperity Mine.” The proposal has been met with a great deal of concern and skepticism by the Tsilhqot’in Nation, local communities and now by the CEAA review panel. The Council of Canadians and other opponents of the project are saying that Taseko Mines should not be allowed to proceed with this project or submit yet another proposal.
“Here again, this panel’s conclusions seem to echo the previous panel,” says Keith Monroe of the Williams Lake chapter of the Council of Canadians. “It is our hope that this time the provincial and federal governments will acknowledge that this project would not only result in significant adverse environmental impacts but would also constitute an unjustifiable infringement of Aboriginal rights.”
Federal, provincial, and independent technical experts have all raised serious concerns about this untested proposal. In the experts’ view the ‘new’ application poses greater environmental risk than the previous proposal that was rejected by the federal government. In its report the CEAA review panel concluded that this project “would result in significant adverse effects on the Tsilhqot’in” including on their “current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and on cultural heritage. These effects cannot be mitigated.”
“It is time to reject this project once and for all,” says Harjap Grewal, Pacific Regional Organizer for the Council of Canadians. “Tsilhqot’in communities have never supported this project, and the company has brought forward a proposal that they acknowledged during the panel hearings poses more environmental risk than their previous attempt. These communities should not be subjected to such outrageous proposals again and again, and the pristine land should be permanently protected from mining development.”
The Council of Canadians will be continuing its campaign of public pressure to ensure that the government once again rejects this proposal and that Taseko cannot reapply.