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Letters & News

Below are letters to the editor, newspaper articles and media releases regarding Fish Lake / Prospertity Mine Project

Taseko reaches deal with B.C. first nation to conduct tests at site

By FIONA ANDERSON, Vancouver Sun

Taseko Mines and the Tsilhqot’in Nation have agreed to a compromise that will let Taseko do some work on the site of its proposed $1-billion New Prosperity mine without interference.

Last October, the province of British Columbia granted Taseko permits allowing it to carry out work on the property near Williams Lake.

The Tsilhqot’in objected to the provincial permits, saying the first nation had not been consulted or accommodated — a legal requirement — before the permits were issued.

They blocked Taseko’s workers from entering the site to do the work and both parties brought legal actions — Taseko asking for an injunction preventing the blockade and the Tsilhqot’in asking for an injunction prohibiting Taseko from carrying out the work until the proper consultations had taken place.

The court supported Tsilhqot’in and imposed a 90-day injunction which was to expire in early March but which could be renewed.

In its decision, the court urged the parties, including the provincial government, to “engage in consultation immediately with a view to resolving the differences and competing interests.”

“And the three parties listened,” Taseko’s vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison said.

The three-way agreement among Taseko, the Tsilhqot’in National Government, which represents six first nations (TNG) in the area of the proposed mine, and the provincial government was reached after a number of face-to-face meetings.

The terms of the agreement are confidential, but it allows Taseko to do tests on the land that directly relate to its proposed mine.

In November 2010, Taseko had its proposal for a mine rejected by the federal government because of its plan to drain a trout-filled lake called Fish Lake.

Taseko has now submitted a revised plan that saves Fish Lake and is in the early stages of review.

The tests Taseko plans to carry out now would be helpful in the environmental assessment process and the permitting process that will follow it if Taseko gets a favourable assessment, Battison said.

In particular, Taseko needs to do soil tests to determine what the effect the tailings pond — situated two kilometres upstream from Fish Lake — will have on the trout.

“This agreement is a good and welcome development for the project,” Battison said.

And he hopes more meetings can take place as the environmental process continues, something that hasn’t happened since 2008.

“It’s always best to be able to talk face-to-face,” he said.

Calls to the TNG were not returned by press time.

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Posted by: Wolfgang Zilker Tuesday Feb 28, 2012 16:50
Categories: Prosperity Mine, Xeni Gwet'in | Tags: exploration approval