British Columbia

First Nation attempts to halt drilling at B.C. lake considered sacred

The Tsilhqot'in Nation is against a plan by Taseko Mines to begin drilling on Tuesday and has scheduled a hearing in the B.C. Court of Appeal for next Friday in a bid to protect Fish Lake, known as Teztan Biny in its language.

Taseko's proposed New Prosperity Mine was approved for development by the province in 2010

Tsilhqot'in healer, elder Gilbert Solomon, on the shores of Teztan Biny or Fish Lake, where Taseko proposes putting its New Prosperity Mine. (Tsilhqot’in National Government)

A First Nation in British Columbia's Central Interior says it will seek an injunction from the province's top court in order to halt the start of drilling at what it considers a sacred lake on its territory.

The Tsilhqot'in Nation is against a plan by Taseko Mines to begin drilling on Tuesday and has scheduled a hearing in the B.C. Court of Appeal for next Friday in a bid to protect Fish Lake, known as Teztan Biny in its language.

Taseko's proposed New Prosperity Mine, located 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, was approved for development by the provincial government in 2010 and it issued a drilling permit in 2017 for the company to collect geotechnical information.

The Tsilhqot'in challenged the permit in the appeal court, but it upheld a lower-court decision on March 1, and now the First Nation says it will attempt to have the Supreme Court of Canada hear its case.

The federal government had twice rejected the mine, citing damage to fish and fish habitat.

Taseko spokesman Brian Battison says the work slated to start Tuesday is the company's attempt to prove fish in the lake will not be harmed.

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