BRITISH COLUMBIA – The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has taken another look at plans for Taseko Mines' proposed New Prosperity gold-copper mine, and again refused to give the project its stamp of approval, saying the mine would have significant adverse effects" on the environment and aboriginal rights.
Taseko's original environmental impact statement was rejected in November 2010. The greatest bone of contention was the potential destruction of Tiztan Biny, commonly known as Fish Lake, considered sacred by the Tsilquot'in people. The next summer, Taseko filed a new project description that addressed those concerns at an additional cost of $300 million. Protests continued. In September 2012 Taseko filed a new EIS for the project 120 km southwest of Williams Lake. That, too, has been rejected by the CEAA.
Taseko has vowed to push forward to get New Prosperity permitted. The rejection of the EIS does not mean the end of the project. Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq will take a look at the project, and she could recommend a permit be issued. If she sides with the CEAA, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet could weigh the socio-economic benefits against the environmental concerns and ultimately give it the go-ahead.
Taseko remains committed to New Prosperity, saying in a news release, "The report in most respects agrees with our assessment that there would not be significant adverse effects. The risks are modest and the social and economic benefits are enormous. The local governments and many citizens of the region made this very clear throughout the panel process. With any major project there will be different views and some trade-offs, but we are confident the federal government can and will approve this project."
Learn more at NewProsperityProject.ca.