Byline: Erin Hitchcock
A study prepared for the Tsilhqot’in National Government says Taseko Mines Ltd. underestimated the potential risk of the proposed Prosperity mine to surrounding lakes and rivers. Stratus Consulting concluded in its study that information provided to date “does not permit a reasoned evaluation of potential adverse effects to water quality, water quantity, fish and wildlife under variable conditions.”
As a result, the TNG is concerned about the future of salmon runs.
“This study raises the alarm,” says Xeni Gwet’in Chief Marilyn Baptiste. “As the traditional caretakers of these lands and waters, we have asked the Panel reviewing this project to demand more credible and accurate information from Taseko so we can properly understand the environmental and human health risks that we are facing.”
The report says Taseko’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project “vastly underestimate[s] the uncertainties in site water balance.”
The report says Taseko has relied on limited data to predict or prepare for extreme weather events.
“After operations, they propose leaving their mine waste in place with no active controls,” the report says.
“One extreme weather event at any point in the future could lead to an uncontrolled release of mine waste, which could have severe adverse consequences for the trout and salmon fishery of the Taseko River.” The TNG says Taseko River flows into the Chilcotin River, which empties into the Fraser River.
Stratus Consulting’s report says that because of the known impacts of hard-rock mining, it is critical that
Taseko identifies reasonable potential effects and include short-term and long-term mitigation and management measures and monitoring in its mine proposal.
“This report makes it clear that we cannot rely on Taseko’s own assessment of the potential impacts of its project,” Baptiste says. “Since time immemorial our people have relied on the pristine waters of the
Teztan Biny watershed and the Taseko River as a source of life.”
Stratus Consulting undertook the hydrology review at the request of the TNG and the Williams Lake Indian Band.
Brian Battison, vice president of corporate affairs for Taseko Mines Ltd., wouldn’t comment on the report’s findings, but says Taseko will review and consider the report and its contents, conclusions, and its work.
For the full article, and to read comments by Amy Crook, Centre for Science in Public Participation, click here.
Byline: Erin Hitchcock