The Tsilhqot’in Nation is in BC Supreme court today challenging provincial drilling permits issued to the Taseko Mines Limited.
The permit allows the company to clear 76 kilometres of new or modified trails, 122 exploratory drill holes, 376 excavated test pits and 20 kilometres of seismic lines near Fish Lake.
The area is a highly regarded spiritual and cultural place for the Tsilhqot’in, and this is not the first time they have had to fight for it.
In 2014, the Government of Canada rejected the New Prosperity Mine- and still it can not be built from a legal standpoint.
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency issued a letter to John McManus, COO of Taseko Mines, on Friday advising that the drilling program is illegal under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. The letter went on to say the project may cause an environmental effect and that the company must not do any act or thing in connection with the carrying out of the designated project.
The letter also stated that given the previous assessments, there is not another one needed and enforcement actions may be taken should the company not comply with the letter.
Public opposition to the proposed New Prosperity Mine has been significant over the past several years and is growing every day. A petition to the Premier of BC to Save Fish Lake currently has over 7,300 signatures. Members of the public can sign the petition at https://you.leadnow.ca/petitions/save-fish-lake-1. In addition, a Feather from Fish Lake social media campaign launched today, and the public is invited to upload videos to support Tsilhqot’in efforts. Details can be found here on TNG’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TsilhqotinNationalGovernment/.
The permit was issued to the company four days before the new NDP government was to be sworn in, in the midst of wildfires threatening the communities and region.
Taseko Mines is a major donor to the BC liberal Party. According to the party website, the company donated $123,450 to the party from 2008 to 2014.