Taseko heads to court after mine rejected again

Company says federal panel used the wrong design for its tailings facility, moved away from Fish Lake

An ore truck at Gibraltar Mine

The federal government has turned down Taseko Mines’ application for a gold mine near Williams Lake for a second time, citing “environmental effects that cannot be mitigated.”

The decision comes after repeated efforts by the B.C. government to lobby for the project, and a court challenge by Taseko to the federal assessment that it said did not take into account the efforts made to protect the watershed from tailings from the open-pit copper and gold project.

Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said Thursday the project would have created 1,200 construction jobs and 500 permanent jobs that would help the region recover from the decline in the forest industry from pine beetle impact.

“I think the federal government has made a big mistake,” Barnett said.

Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq issued a statement late Wednesday saying the decision was made “based on the best available scientific evidence while balancing economic and environmental considerations.”

Taseko CEO Russell Hallbauer said the company accepted the federal government’s 2010 invitation to reapply, and committed $300 million to redesign the project in response to the first rejection.

Hallbauer said Taseko will proceed with a judicial review applied for in December, arguing that the federal review panel used the wrong design for its updated waste rock storage facility. The panel concluded that the project was likely to cause significant adverse effects on fish and fish habitat, wetlands and aboriginal interest in the Fish Lake area.

B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett made two trips to Ottawa since the decision to assure federal officials that the tailings control proposed for New Prosperity Mine is similar to other mines operating in B.C.

B.C. enlisted John Meech, a mine engineering professor at the University of B.C., who said the compact soil liner proposed by Taseko has been proven effective at the company’s nearby Gibraltar Mine and Mount Polley Mine, operated by Imperial Metals northeast of Williams Lake.

Bennett said Thursday the question of the tailings pond will likely be resolved in court, and the province has a proven ability to regulate mines.

“We know how to make sure that the design is such that it’s not going to contaminate surrounding groundwater, or a lake that’s two kilometres away,” Bennett said.

Just Posted

Documentary reminds of many unanswered questions about Granger Taylor’s disappearance

‘Spaceman’ was the name of the CBC documentary but where, really, did the Duncan man go in 1980?

Fifth pick Braylon Lumb leads Cowichan trio at WLA draft

Junior B players Robertson and Martin also selected

Julia Ullrich delighted to be playing Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’

Rehearsing with the children and the talented musicians has been a special highlight for her

UPDATE: Missing Duncan woman found

35-year-old Raine Cook has been located

Indoor tournaments showcase Cowichan Valley field hockey talent

Local players on top two teams at senior tournament, Cowichan Typhoons finish second at U18 event

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Cowichan Coffee Time: New faces and chipping in

• Duncan resident Gianpierro (GP) Denomme is the newest volunteer member of… Continue reading

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Plecas won’t run in next election if B.C. legislature oversight reforms pass

B.C. Speaker and Abbotsford South MLA says he feels ‘great sympathy’ for Jody Wilson-Raybould

Workshop with ‘accent reduction’ training cancelled at UBC

The workshop was cancelled the same day as an email was sent out to international students

Man in Vancouver Island hotel shooting pleads guilty to second-degree murder

Brandon Tyler Woody, from Victoria, to be sentenced in late March in B.C. Supreme Court

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Trump officially declares national emergency to build border wall

President plans to siphon billions from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts

Most Read