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

Cowichan Lake Pickleball Club hosting first invitational tourney

The Lake Cowichan pickleball courts on Cowichan Avenue will be busy this… Continue reading

Cowichan Crime Stoppers most wanted of the week

Do you know where these people are?

‘They were just gone’: presentation in Duncan on project delving into history of Japanese Canadians

Cowichan Valley Museum & Archives hosting a presentation by the Landscapes of Injustice project team

BC Summer Games legacy money distributed throughout Cowichan Valley

Six organizations split $120,000 remaining from 2018 event

VIDEO: Missing teens named as suspects in three northern B.C. killings

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky are wanted in the deaths of Lucas Fowler, Chynna Deese, unknown man

B.C. rail crossing death highlights risks for people in wheelchairs: watchdog

Transportation Safety Board points to ‘persistent risks faced by persons using assistive devices’

BC Cancer Agency refuses to release audit’s critical findings, but discloses ‘positive’ findings

Information and Privacy Commissioner asked to review redactions of cancer agency’s triage audit

B.C. teens wanted in double homicide, suspicious death spotted in Manitoba

Kam McLeod and Bryer Schmegelsky were thought to have been seen in the Gillam area

Vancouver Island man wanted after walking away from halfway house in Victoria

Warrant issued for Jesse Goodale, convicted of aggravated assault

Memorial bench painted by Vancouver woman to stay in park for now

Park board to look at options for artistic enhancements on commemorative benches

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Weather Network’s anti-meat video ‘doesn’t reflect true story’: cattle ranchers

At issue is the video’s suggestion that cutting back on meat consumption could help save the planet

Most Read