The Council of Canadians rejects the revised Prosperity Mine plan submitted by Taseko Mines Ltd to both the British Columbia and federal government on Tuesday. Although the B.C.-based mining company claims that the revised plan preserves Fish Lake, the plan still threatens Little Fish Lake and Fish Creek which are connected to Fish Lake. Taseko has admitted that there is a possibility of leaching in the watershed despite this revised proposal.
“The revised plan still threatens the water system,” says Emma Lui, the organization’s national water campaigner. “Taseko cannot provide guarantees that the project would not harm the local watershed.”
“This proposal still poses a threat to water,” says Harjap Grewal, BC-Yukon Regional organizer. “This new proposal appears to be an effort to rebrand a controversial project that has already been rejected by the federal government and is still vehemently opposed by the local First Nations.”
In their plan that was rejected by the federal government, Taseko affirmed that they were presenting the best environmental option. Now, Taseko states that they are able to build an artificial tailings impoundment area because the increase in the price of gold and copper has made this plan economically viable.
The Tsilhqot’in First Nation is asking the federal government to reject Taseko’s plan. Marilyn Baptiste, Chief of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation, is calling on “both governments to respect and stand by the Tsilhqot'in Nation's decision to protect this area from mining and the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” The Council of Canadians stands with the Tsilhqot’in Nation in opposing the proposal.
On November 2, 2010, the federal government rejected the proposed Prosperity Mine project basing their decision on an independent review panel that found that “the Project would result in significant adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat, on navigation, on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by First Nations and on cultural heritage, and on certain potential or established Aboriginal rights or title.” The Council of Canadians presented to the panel and expressed strong concerns about the danger to water systems that would be affected by the project.