MAC: Mines and Communities

Canadian First Nations reject revised mine proposal

Published by MAC on 2011-06-13
Source: CBC News, statements (2011-06-10)

"New Prosperity" as dead as the old - Tribal Chief

"We bombed the village in order to save it" - That was General Westmoreland's response to an accusation that his forces murdered civilians at one point during the US war on Vietnam.

Now, in an attempt to launch its "New Prosperity" mine proposal, Canada's Taseko Mines Ltd  argues something similar: let us dig a massive pit all around a sacred lake, and the lake will be saved.

But the Tsilhqot'in First Nation is having none of this nonsense. 

Its Tribal Chairman roundly declares that "attempts to 'revive' the mine proposal without the Tsilhqot'in Nation's input or consent is a clear signal that the company does not understand Tsilhqot'in rights and culture, and lacks respect for the environment and our communities.

"The Prosperity Project is dead!"

Previous article on MAC:- Canadian PM stands "firm" against revised Taseko mine plan

B.C. First Nations reject revised mine proposal

CBC News

8 June 2011

Taseko Mines Ltd. says its new proposal for the Prosperity gold and copper mine near Williams Lake, B.C., will not destroy Fish Lake.

B.C. First Nations leaders are condemning a revised proposal for a  controversial mining project, saying it's as environmentally dangerous as the first version, which was rejected by the federal cabinet last year.

Taseko Mines officials said their new proposal for the Prosperity gold and copper mine near Williams Lake would preserve Fish Lake, an important First Nations site, and reduce other environmental impacts.

But the Tsilhqot'in First Nation said the lake wouldn't be saved by surrounding it with one of the world's largest open pit mines and a tailings pond designed for 720 million tons of toxic waste.

Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chairman of the Tsilhqot'in, said the second proposal is no better than the first one and was submitted without consultation with aboriginal leaders.

The First Nation also said that by repackaging an already-rejected proposal, the company is abusing the process at the expense of taxpayers.

Union of BC Indian Chiefs President Grand Chief Stewart Philip says Taseko has no credibility because during previous public hearings the company said all other options for the mine would be far more destructive than their original proposal.


Taseko's "New Prosperity" PR Spin Misrepresents Panel Findings

MiningWatch Canada release

10 June 2011

Ottawa - Taseko Mines Ltd. has rebranded and resubmitted one of Canada's most problematic mining projects as the "New Prosperity" mine. In November of last year the federal government denied approval for an earlier version of the project following a rigorous review, the results of which former Minister of the Environment Jim Prentice called "scathing".

On a flashy new website, Taseko claims that it has addressed all of the issues raised by the review panel and that it continues to work collaboratively with the First Nations on whose traditional territory the massive open pit operation would be located.

Ramsey Hart, Canada Program Coordinator for MiningWatch Canada commented, "These claims are more PR fiction than reality and represent a gross misrepresentation of the federal review panel's findings - and of Taseko's toxic relationship with First Nations.

The Federal Review Panel found that the earlier proposal (the latest to fail to get approval) would have significant adverse effects on several inter-related issues:

Recent communications from Taseko have only listed three of these areas of significant adverse effects: use of resources, fish and fish habitat, and navigation.

The "New Prosperity" project differs from the previous submission in one substantive way - Fish Lake will not be drained. The lake will, however, be situated within an industrial mining site inaccessible to other users for the life of the mine and will remain, forever, immediately downstream of a massive tailings impoundment. The lake's cultural and ecological values will not be "saved" by this proposal and none of the other significant adverse affects identified by the Review Panel have been resolved by the "New Prosperity" proposal.

MiningWatch Canada was actively involved in the Federal Review Panel, submitting technical briefs and participating the hearings.

"There are examples of positive collaboration between the mining industry and First Nations," said Hart, " but this project and this company have gotten it all wrong. I see no way that this project can move forward and meaningfully address the fundamental problems in the old or the new versions of the project. This resubmission is wasting government resources, threatening Taseko's investors, and further damaging the relationships and reputation of the mining industry in British Columbia. The federal government should nip this in the bud and reject the proposal based on the findings of the previous review."

- 30 -

Contact Ramsey Hart, MiningWatch Canada - 613-569-3439 / 613-289-4745
Available at www.miningwatch.ca: Overview of Federal Review Panel Findings
and Taseko's "New Prosperity" Project.


Tsilhqot'in Nation call on Governments to reject Re-Submitted "New Prosperity" Mine

Tsilhqot'in press release

8 June 2011

WILLIAMS LAKE, BC - The Tsilhqot'in view Taseko Mines Ltd.'s (TML) so-called "New Prosperity" proposal as equally dangerous as the first - the integrity of Teztan Biny and its surrounding environment are not 'saved' by literally surrounding this sacred lake by one of the world's largest open pits, a tailings pond designed for 720 million tons of toxic waste, nor by continuing to destroy Little Fish Lake and Fish Creek.

The impacts clearly articulated in the "scathing" 2010 Federal Review Panel Report, and acknowledged by the federal government's rejection of the project in November 2010, are not addressed by simply re-packaging an already assessed proposal.

The Tsilhqot'in Nation call on the Federal and Provincial governments to reject this re-application because it does not address the issues raised by the Panel in its report, and because the proponent TML lacks all credibility and is undeniably abusing a process at the expense of the taxpayers and the communities.

The Federal Review Panel recognized that TML's alternative plans also had significant adverse impacts and that "the proximity of the open pit and associated mining facilities would be close enough to Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) to eliminate the intrinsic value of the area to First Nations even if another alternative were chosen."

Therefore the threat to Tsilhqot'in rights, title and the integrity of this environmentally sensitive region are not addressed by TML's repackaged plan, and the Tsilhqot'in Nation stands firm that no amount of money can justify destruction of this magnitude.

"This equally damaging proposal was submitted with zero consultation with the Tsilhqot'in Nation who in fact received the submission after it had already been sent to both governments. TML's attempts to 'revive' the mine proposal without the Tsilhqot'in Nation's input or consent is a clear signal that the company does not understand Tsilhqot'in rights and culture, and lacks respect for the environment and our communities. The Prosperity Project is dead!" declared Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman of the Tsilhqot'in Nation and Chief of Tl'etinqox-t'in.

Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated: "The Federal Review Panel already reviewed this 'so-called' alternative proposal. During the course of the previous public hearings, Taseko Mine officials admitted 'all other options would be far more destructive in nature' than their original proposal being promoted by the company. Clearly Taseko Mines Ltd. has no credibility."

"The Tsilhqot'in Nation has been working to build relationships with the Federal and Provincial Government. Acceptance by them for a company that has unequivocally displayed bad faith to our communities is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. It definitely would show that the governments are not standing up to their fiduciary obligations. We call 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 (UNDRIP)," declares Marilyn Baptiste, Chief of Tsilhqot'in People of Xeni Gwet'in.

For Media Enquiries:

1) Marilyn Baptiste, Chief of Xeni Gwet'in: (w) 250-394-7023 ext. 202 (c) 250-267-1401
2) Joe Alphonse, Chief of Tl'etinqox-t'in & Tribal Chairman: (w) 250-394-4212 (c) 250-305-8282
3) Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (c) 250-490-5314

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