B.C. pitches more mining investment

Mines minister pitches B.C. mining to Toronto investors, but still struggles with aboriginal opposition to major projects

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett (centre)

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett made a pitch to Toronto-based mining companies to invest in B.C. Tuesday, after pressing Ottawa for approval of one of the mine projects being opposed by local aboriginal people.

It was Bennett’s second trip to Ottawa in as many months to seek federal cabinet approval of the New Prosperity copper and gold mine near Williams Lake. Bennett said in an interview from Toronto Tuesday he expects to have an answer by the end of February.

Proponent Taseko Mines has filed a court action to protest the results of the federal environmental review, which the company says did not recognize the new mine design’s use of a lined tailings pond located away from Fish Lake. Bennett wouldn’t comment on the court action, except to say it is not yet resolved.

“We have tailings ponds that are constructed that do not leach into adjacent watercourses, and that’s the central concern here from the federal panel,” Bennett said. “So it’s been our position that the mine could actually be built in such a way as to not contaminate Fish Lake.”

Bennett rang the opening bell at the Toronto stock exchange and had lunch with 50 mining and investment executives, promoting the projects that have proceeded and the B.C. government’s efforts to open more.

Production is to start this year at Red Chris, a $500 million copper and gold mine near Dease Lake expected to employ 750 people. The Roman coal mine near Tumbler Ridge is also set to start up this year, with 375 employees.

The Mount Milligan copper-gold mine northwest of Prince George started production in September, bringing the total operating mines to 19.

Red Chris is proceeding with the co-operation of the Tahltan Nation, which signed a shared decision-making deal with the B.C. government in March of 2013. With the BC Hydro grid being extend to their remote northwest B.C. territory, the Tahltan Central Council was seeing 250 exploration applications a year.

More than 60 coal licence applications were placed under a one-year suspension in December in the Klappan region, after the Tahltan objected to development work for a coal mine in the headwaters of the Nass, Skeena and Stikine Rivers.

Tahltan Central Council president Annita McPhee called the suspension a “temporary reprieve,” the first step to a protection plan for the Klappan.

“We will continue to resist any industrial development there like this Arctos project that threatens to destroy our land and culture,” McPhee said.

Bennett said the suspension is to deliver on an election promise to develop protection for the area, which the Tahltan call the Sacred Headwaters.

The B.C. government paid $20 million to Shell Canada to cancel disputed coalbed gas leases in the region in 2012.

But the government won’t do the same for the only approved coal mine project in the Klappan, Fortune Minerals’ Arctos Anthracite project, which the Tahltan oppose. Bennett emphasized that the suspension is temporary.

 

Just Posted

Jury convicts spear-wielding Duncan man in 2015 Ladysmith RV park murder

Trever George Meers used a handmade spear to stab Rayna Johnson at the Campers Corners RV Park

Storm batters Cowichan Valley but power stays on

Despite thunder, lightning, wind and pounding rain, only a few areas suffered power cuts

UPDATED: Women’s shelter not going ahead in Duncan

School district pulls back on former Charles Hoey school site

Tal Bachman, Lance Lapointe head to Duncan Brew Pub with Hometown Hockey

The event includes prizes and a silent auction, with all proceeds going to support KidSport Cowichan

Column: Connie Kaldor, Robbie Burns and more headed to Cowichan

Last minute notice of two great acts at the Duncan Showroom tonight

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Plan your Hometown Hockey weekend

Find your favourites on the Hometown Hockey schedule

Hometown Hockey: Cowichan Capitals events

On Jan. 20 there will be special features during the game for Hometown Hockey

Coming up in Cowichan: Rain workshop, Joseph Mairs Memorial, timely film

Participants are encouraged to bring their roof dimensions

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

Most Read