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The offices of Taseko Mines Limited is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday November 25, 2010. (Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press)
The offices of Taseko Mines Limited is pictured in Vancouver, B.C., on Thursday November 25, 2010. (Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck/ The Canadian Press)

Native groups slam revised mining plan Add to ...

A revised Prosperity mine proposal from Taseko Mines does not fix the problems that sunk the company's previous plan, says a coalition of native groups that has spent years fighting the project.

Taseko's new proposal - which would add $300-million to the cost of building the mine and save a lake that would have been destroyed under the old design - still calls for a large, open-pit mine that would have widespread and lasting effects on the area's lakes and rivers, Xeni Gwet'in chief Marilyn Baptiste said on Wednesday.

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"It's hard to see how on earth such impacts could be mitigated or addressed," said Ms. Baptiste, whose band is one of several represented by the Tsilhquot'in National Government.

Taseko says soaring metal prices have allowed it to undertake a design that wasn't economically feasible at lower prices for copper and gold and that it has made "significant efforts" to address all the necessary requirements for federal approval.

On Monday Taskeo said it had submitted a revised proposal for the gold-and-copper mine to the federal government, which nixed the initial plan in November.

Taseko's previous design involved draining Fish Lake, using it to store waste rock and replacing it with an artificial lake.

B.C. approved the plan, but Ottawa did not. When he announced his decision last November, former-environment-minister Jim Prentice said the project "would result in the destruction of Fish Lake, and as a result the destruction as well of the complex and highly productive ecosystem that included not only the lake, but dozens of connecting streams, wetlands and aquatic life."

Mr. Prentice said the "significant adverse environmental effects" of the project, as it was then proposed, could not be justified.

That sent Taseko, which operates another mine in the province, back to the drawing board. The company now says its current proposal attempts to relieve first nations concerns.

The mine, which would be located 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake and have an estimated total cost of more than $1-billion, would employ hundreds of people and generate millions of dollars in taxes for the provincial and federal governments.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark has said she supports the mine and would like to see it proceed.

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