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

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Second World War prompts airport construction

And now it’s the busiest airport in the region

Trudeau announces bioregional oceans protection agreement in Prince Rupert

Agreement announced in partnership with 14 central and north coast First Nations

115 new wildfires burning across B.C. due to 19,000 lightning strikes

More fires expected to start today, says BC Wildfire Service officials

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read