Tag Archives: Taseko

Members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation and their supporters protest outside of Taseko Mines' Vancouver offices last year

Tsilhqot’in Nation Goes to Court Over BC Govt’s Exploration Approvals for Prosperity Mine


The Tsilhqot’in Nation is firing back at the BC Government with legal action following the confirmation this past Friday that the Province has issued permits to Taseko Mines for work related to its proposed Prosperity Mine at Fish Lake, West of Williams Lake.

According to a press release issued by the aboriginal government, “The Tsilhqot’in Nation has launched a court challenge asking the B.C. Supreme Court to invalidate or suspend approvals granted by British Columbia to Taseko Mines Limited for extensive drilling, excavation, timber clearing, road construction and other exploratory work for its controversial ‘New’ Prosperity Mine.”

Earlier this week, leaders representing the Nation condemned the Clark Government’s decision to award work permits long before the highly controversial project receives federal approvals. The Harper Government confirmed on Monday that an amended proposal for the project it rejected last year will receive a second federal environmental assessment.

The judicial petition filed in the BC Supreme Court alleges the Province neglected to consult and accommodate First Nations regarding the controversial permits.

“This company went through years of exploration for its failed first bid,” said Chief Marilyn Baptiste of the Xeni Gwet’in people, upon whose territory the mine would be built. “Now they want to go back in there and drill more holes, dig nearly 60 test pits and clear over 23 kilometres of road, all for this new mine proposal that the company knows – and has publicly stated – is worse for the environment that its preferred option.  We are appealing to the court to uphold the principles of fairness and justice.”    

Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government added, “We’re talking about serious impacts for our rights and our culture. The Province refused to acknowledge these impacts, no matter what we
say; it is more concerned with handing over approvals.  We’ve gone to
court before, we’ve stood in front of the federal panel, we have proven
over and over again how important these lands are to our people and our
culture – but the Province never seems to get the message.”

The Nation’s legal counsel, Jay Nelson, said the Province secretly approved the permits 6 weeks ago, without alerting his clients. “We all know this is a high conflict situation, and this kind of disrespect only throws fuel on the fire,” he added.    


Province Issues Prosperity Mine Exploration, Road-Building Permits Over Strong First Nations Opposition


Read this story from the Williams Lake Tribune, confirming the Clark Government has already issued permits to Taseko Mines for exploration and road building related to the company’s highly controversial Prosperity Mine – this despite the announcement of a new Federal Panel Review on the company’s updated proposal and the ongoing opposition of local First Nations.

“The permits pertain to on-site work required for engineering purposes
and include permission to build ‘trails’ to move equipment on the
property as well as drilling and test pitting to obtain geotechnical
information for the project’s new dam location. [Taseko Vice-President Brian] Battison said the permits allow for 59 test pits, eight
geotechnical drill holes and 10 diamond drill holes as well as 23.5
kilometres of trail…

…Tsilqot’in National Government chair Joe Alphonse called the issuance
of permits, ‘…drawing a line in the sand.’ He added, ‘I think they
want to know what’s going to happen and I think that’s a good way to
find out.’ Alphonse said there is a general lack of faith in the provincial review process. ‘Whatever process the province is coming up with it has already been pre-approved as far as we’re concerned,’ he said.” (Nov. 8, 2011)

Read full article: http://www.wltribune.com/news/133410023.html


Propserity Mine Gest Second Chance at Federal Review, Over First Nations Opposition


Read this story from CBC.ca confirming that Taseko Mines will get a second chance at a federal panel review with a revised proposal for its Prosperity Mine, in the Chilcotin Territory West of Williams Lake. Meanwhile, First Nations remain vehemently opposed to the project, even in its latest incarnation.

“The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency ordered a new federal
review Monday of the company’s proposal for the New Prosperity Mine,
located 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, B.C. The federal agency initially found an earlier version of Taseko’s
mine environmentally unacceptable. Based on that assessment,
then-environment minister Jim Prentice refused to let the project go
ahead in November 2010.

The review panel will be a group of independent experts selected on
the basis of their knowledge and expertise and appointed by the minister
of the environment. The assessment that Prentice based his judgment on
was a comprehensive study. Those studies are conducted by CEAA staff in
collaboration with environmental experts from various federal
departments.” (Nov. 7, 2011)

Read full article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/11/07/taseko-environment-mine.html?cmp=rss


Clark Government Fast-Tracks Prosperity Mine


Read this story from Pacific Free Press, including a press release from the Tsilhqot’in National Government on the BC Government’s issuing of fast-tracked permits for Taseko Mines to begin drilling and building roads for its proposed Prosperity Mine.

“The proponent has
already submitted a proposal for “New” Prosperity, a mine alternative
that it has described in the past as even more environmentally damaging.
At the same time, British Columbia recently issued approvals that
authorize the proponent to extensively drill, build roads and clear
trees throughout this area of such critical importance to our people.

The Tsilhqot’in Nation considers the approvals issued by British
Columbia unlawful because of the Province’s failure to meaningfully
consult or accommodate our Nation or to justify the impacts on our
proven Aboriginal rights to hunt and trap throughout those lands. We
remain confident that the Federal Government will continue to do the
right thing and once again reject this clearly unacceptable mine
proposal.” (Nov. 2, 2011)

Read full story: http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1-/10083-british-columbia-grants-go-ahead-for-once-denied-qprosperity-mineq.html


A Tale of Two BC Mining Fiascos


There are two mining stories out of last week in Lotusland.

For openers, let’s deal with “Prosperity” Lake which, before the corporate flacks got involved, was called Fish Lake.
The short story is that this is a mine prospect held by Taseko Mines. While the Provincial government approved it, it was turned down by the feds who then gave the company time to put in a new proposal, which they did. With the speed of light the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency received the new application last February and hasn’t yet decided anything. This delay brought a fire and brimstone editorial from the Fraser Institute’s house paper, the Vancouver Sun, which threw unsourced “facts” at us, including a promise of 71,000 jobs with 5,400 new residents for the nearby town of Williams Lake. We’re not told where those figures come from but clearly they’re from the large sack of extravagant statements the Fraser Institute keeps on hand for whenever their definition of capitalism is called to account.
Since the Sun doesn’t state otherwise, we must assume that the 71,000 jobs are for construction of the mine, which is preposterous. Whatever jobs it does take will, based upon long experience, come from outside the province. And are these 5,400 new arrivals necessary to run a mine?
Mr. Mihlar, the Fraser Institute’s editor of The Sun, the think tank’s poodle, should visit an operation of a modern, computerized mine before throwing numbers around.
A neat line in the editorial refers to outside agitators, I can only hope that I and fellow environmentalists are amongst them. The thought that environmentalists are outside agitators brings a sense of deep pride; how rewarding it is to be compared to the “freedom fighters” in the American South in the Sixties.
It’s so much like the Fraser Institute’ poodle, the Sun, to pretend they are not “outside agitators”.
The Sun’s call for putting the Taseko Prosperity Mine on the fast track is code for “approve at once” and ignores the fact that First Nations people and we outside agitators have yet to be heard from on the new proposition.
If I were able to cross-examine the company and their flacks my question would be: Why didn’t you submit your amended proposal in the first place? (The proposal existed, in fact, but the company insisted it wasn’t “economically viable”, before suddenly changing its tune the day after the first proposal was rejected). Can we assume that if you’re turned down for proposal #2, you have “proposition 3” in your ass pocket?
It’s interesting that Mr. Milhar doesn’t deal with the environmental concerns that remain, with attention be paid to the threats of damage to other waters especially to migrating salmon streams. Even though the company’s latest proposal seeks to avoid destroying Fish Lake, it still threatens Fish Creek, Taseko Lake and the Taseko River – important salmon habitat that eventually connects with the Fraser River.
It’s also interesting that the Fraser Institute/Sun combination believes that where development and the environment clash development must carry the day.
This infomercial of Mr. Milhar should help us start the great debate, namely, what do British Columbians want to be – one of the blessed lands where commercial intrusion is secondary to environmental preservation or a place where when a conflict occurs, industry holds all the trumps?
Then there’s the Boss Power case – a uranium property which has cost the taxpayers $30 million to settle. If the Liberals had continued the no uranium policy brought into force by the excellent Environment Minister in 1979 (name provided upon demand) this issue would not have come up.
As Mike Smyth of the Province stated in a column last week, this case has the same stench the BC Rail case had – gross negligence of staggering proportions that, as with the BC Rail case, best not let a judge with an open courtroom sniff around.
There is another angle to this story not given sufficient attention.
First a bit of background.
Ministers have the right to have their policies implemented by the public servants however much they may not want to; what ministers cannot do is interfere with a public servant who’s doing as a statute compels him to do. Registrars under various different statutes are usually under a statute which sets the rules he must administer – he has no options.
For a minister to try to influence the administration of a statutory obligation would, in a decent government, be forced to resign.  
In this case the company was making an application to The Chief Inspector of Mines for a permit to drill. The chief inspector has a statutory obligation to receive and pass judgments – ministerial interference is highly improper.
The then Minister of Mines, Kevin Krueger, instructed the Inspector to ignore the company’s application to drill. This is so improper that the minister should have resigned or, failing that, been fired forthwith.
What this case shows is that the Campbell/Clark government has the morality of an alley cat (with apologies to the feline community). Read alongside the BC Rail cover-up we see tawdry, sloppy ministers with no clue about what ministerial impropriety means and with a contempt for process an integral part of their modus operandi.
These two stories, read together, show an alarming disinterest in real values and respect for the public’s right to know the facts and the ability to be heard. The Vancouver Sun editorial, when you think on it, takes the breath away – process means let’s get on with it! Corporation “facts” must be considered holy writ and the process an ill-disguised sham – a quick, pro forma minor nuisance.
British Columbians must decide what sort of place they and what values they hold. And since the next major decisions will be pipelines and tankers, the sooner the better.


First Nations Leaders Respond to Barabara Yaffe’s Provocative Column on BC Resource Projects


Read this scathing response to a recent column by the Vancouver Sun’s Barbara Yaffe, titled “First Nations Need to Embrace Resource Projects” – from the Vice Tribal Chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and the Tribal Chief of the Tsilhqot’in National Government. (Aug 2, 2011)



Taseko Mines: B.C. Securities Commission Reviewing Unusual Trading Activity


Conservative government brushed off allegations that there may have
been a leak from the federal government on the pending denial of a
Taseko Mines Ltd. project, prompting unusual share trading activity
during a mid-October session.

John Baird, the government House
leader, said his Liberal opponents — who alleged in the House of
Commons that “Conservative insiders” leaked information that may have
benefited certain shareholders — are engaging in “pure speculation.”

trading in Taseko occurred in mid-October. On Nov. 2, the federal
Minister of Environment said Taseko’s Prosperity mine project could not
be granted authorizations to proceed.

Baird said before the
federal decision, there was a “publicly available” environmental
assessment on the Prosperity project that recommended Ottawa reject its
development “because it would cause irreparable harm” to the

The proposed Taseko operation — dubbed the
Prosperity Mine — was planned for a wilderness area about 120
kilometres southwest of Prince George in B.C.’s northern interior.
Promoters touted it as one of the world’s largest gold and copper

Baird declined to answer Liberal questions about whether
the government was conducting its own internal investigation into the
possibility of a leak, and if the RCMP had been called in to assist in
the probe.

Initial media reports indicated that the unusual trading activity coincided with a cabinet meeting held on Oct. 14.

Read full Vancouver Sun story here


Why Ottawa Really Said no to Prosperity Mine


The Sun’s editorial of Nov. 5 slamming the federal decision to reject the Prosperity mine reveals a lack of understanding of the relevant facts. The editorial states: “The government of the day could have saved everyone involved on both sides of the project much time, money and angst by saying no” 17 years ago when Prosperity was first proposed.

Well, the government of the day said exactly that. In fact, three successive federal fisheries ministers from 1995 onward notified both the province and the company, Taseko Mines Ltd., that a project involving the loss of Fish Lake (called Teztan Biny by the Tsilhqot’in First Nation) was not open for discussion. Taseko knew as early as 1995 that destroying the lake was out, but continued to push its original proposal without developing a real alternative that might have saved the lake.

Read more of Tony Pearse op-ed in Vancouver Sun here


Prosperity Mine Rejection Highlights Flawed BC Environmental Assessment


agreed that if the Prosperity gold-copper mine project went ahead in
the Chilcotin, fish would die and habitat would be lost. The question
was: should the mine go ahead regardless?  A B.C. environmental
review concluded it should, while a federal review concluded it
shouldn’t: dramatically different outcomes that are generating criticism
of the way the province approves major projects. Read more of Vancouver Sun article here


Prentice Kills Taseko’s Mine at Fish Lake


The federal government has killed a plan for an open-pit mine in Fish Lake, B.C.  “The project as it was proposed would result in the destruction of
Fish Lake and the destruction as well of a complex and highly productive
ecosystem that included … dozens of connecting streams, wetlands and
aquatic life,” Environment Minister Jim Prentice said Tuesday. Read Toronto Sun article