Byline: Ken MacInnis
Three chiefs from the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs have announced their support of the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s opposition to the use of Fish Lake as part of the Prosperity mine project.
In a letter to project proponent Taseko Mines’s vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison, the federal review panel, and the Tribune, the chiefs write that they find it to be “shocking, deeply disappointing and totally unacceptable that Taseko continues to disrespect the Tsilhqot’in people and the leadership by undermining any possibility of open and respectful dialogue or engagement on select issues of mutual benefit.”
The letter was signed by UBCIC president Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, vice president Chief William Charlie, and secretary-treasurer Chief Robert Chamberlin. In an interview, Phillip said the mining industry needs to understand that using lakes in operations is a non-starter.
“If it’s in the plan to fill in a lake with tailings, that’s going to run headlong into First Nations opposition,” he said. “There would be a modicum of hope if (mining companies) would initiate dialogue, instead of coming to the table and saying ‘we have no choice but to destroy this lake, and let’s talk about it.’”