BRITISH COLUMBIA - Environment Canada has refused authorization for Taseko Mines of Vancouver to proceed with its Prosperity gold-copper project near Williams Lake. The most controversial aspect of the project is the potential destruction of Teztan Biny, more commonly known as Fish Lake, which includes a significant rainbow trout habitat, and which is considered sacred by the Tsilquot'in people. Taseko had planned to dispose of waste rock and/or tailings in the lake.
Both provincial and federal environmental reviews were conducted on the Prosperity project. British Columbia gave the okay to the project in January 2010. Six weeks of federal environmental hearings were held in March and April. The federal panel submitted its report in July, but it was late Tuesday afternoon before the decision was announced. Taseko had already begun the procurement of long lead time equipment, project financing and negotiating concentrate sales agreements.
Russell Hallbauer, president and CEO of Taseko, said, "We are extremely disappointed by this decision, not only for our shareholders but for the communities that were relying on the development of Prosperity to help offset the economic situation in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Our next steps will be discussions with both the federal and provincial governments to look at options so that this mining project can move forward and meet the criteria that the federal government deems appropriate."
Further information will be posted at www.TasekoMines.com.