Rejected Prosperity Mine Project Makes New Bid

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From CBC.ca – Feb 21, 2011

Owners of B.C.’s controversial Prosperity mine have launched a second attempt to get the $1-billion project approved.

The gold and copper mine near Williams Lake was opposed by First
Nations and ultimately failed an environmental assessment, released in
July 2010 by the federal environment ministry.

The B.C. environment ministry had already aproved the project

On Monday, Taseko Mines Ltd., of Vancouver, submitted a revised plan
for the mine that addressed the major concern of both natives and
officials — the proposed destruction of Fish Lake.

The original proposal called for the lake to be drained and turned
into a dump for toxic tailings from the mine, poisoning much of the
watershed in which it lies.

That would wipe out 90,000 rainbow trout, according to the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc First Nations.

The company said there was no alternative.

Metal prices up sharply

Taseko’s new proposal now would preserve Fish Lake and all its aquatic life, the company said.

What’s changed is the price of gold and copper, making it possible to
pay for a more expensive solution to the waste problem, said CEO
Russell Hallbauer.

“Price projections for copper average about $2.50 [per pound] and for
gold above $1,000 [per ounce], nearly two times the prices we used in
our original assessment,” Hallbauer said. “We are now able to consider
and advance this new design proposal which adds construction costs and
life of mine operating expenditures of approximately $300 million.”

The company said in a release Monday that the proposal greatly
reduces environmental impacts [and] preserves Fish Lake and its
aquatics.

There is no timeline for environmental approval, but Taseko said it
hoped the environmental assessment would only have to review the aspects
of the proposal that have changed.

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About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

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