Taseko Mines to apply for another review of New Prosperity Mine

March 27, 2014

Taseko Mines Ltd. is applying for another judicial review of the federal government's rejection of its proposed New Prosperity gold and copper mine near Williams Lake, CBC News reported.

Federal Minister of Environment Leona Agluqqak, rejected the proposed mine in February after she concluded the project is likely to cause irreversible environmental damage.

CBC News reported that according to the company, their application for a new Federal Court review contains "serious allegations about wrongdoing by government ministers, ministries, civil servants and agencies resulting in the company’s bid to move to the provincial regulatory process for New Prosperity being turned down."

One of the concerns raised by the company is that Natural Resources Canada based its findings on the wrong design for the tailings pond, which did not include a liner proposed by the company.

An independent review panel found environmental damage to the Fish Lake water supply would be irreparable, based on the second proposal Taseko put forward for the open pit mine, roughly 125 km southwest of Williams Lake, B.C.

Taseko Mines Ltd. launched a judicial review in 2013 alleging the federal panel reviewing the second proposal used the wrong information to conclude the mine would result in adverse environmental effects.

The project has faced vehement opposition from members of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation, who argue Fish Lake — considered sacred in their culture — would be damaged by the mine.

Taseko's first proposal was rejected by the Ministry of Environment in 2010 for environmental concerns. In that proposal, which received provincial approval, the mining firm proposed using the lake as a tailings pond.

Taseko then drafted a new environmental impact assessment, and resubmitted it to the review panel. The revised proposal for the $1.5 billion project included plans for conserving Fish Lake.

The company has estimated the New Prosperity mine would generate 550 direct jobs and $340 million in gross domestic product annually.

The company says it has spent $130 million over the past 12 years going through three separate environmental assessments for the project to mine the 10th largest gold and copper reserve in the world.
 

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