Taseko seeks new review of New Prosperity mine rejection
Federal government review concluded project likely to cause significant environmental damage.
B.C.-based 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.
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 their findings on the wrong design for the tailings pond, which did not include a liner proposed by the company.
Tailings ponds are used to store the waste materials resulting from the mining of gold and copper from the surrounding rock.
Last month, federal Minister of Environment Leona Agluqqak, rejected the proposed mine after she concluded the controversial project — which has been rejected once before — is likely to cause irreversible environmental damage.
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 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, B.C.
Both this reincarnation of the Taseko Mines proposal and a previous one were heavily supported by the B.C. Liberal government. Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett has made two trips to Ottawa to lobby for the project.
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.
- 2012 Taseko re-submits environmental impact statement for New Prosperity Mine
- July 2013 Public hearings begin, Tsilhqot'in First Nation vows to fight New Prosperity Mine
- October 2013 Federal Review Panel finds 'adverse environmental effects'
- November 2013 First Nations celebrate review panel findings
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 re-submitted 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.