RAVEN - Respecting Aboriginal Values and Environmental Needs

Economic Impact Review of Prosperity Mine Must be Independent – Media Release

For Immediate release

August 4, 2010, Victoria, BC:   Any review of the economic impacts of the proposed Prosperity mine must be independent, public, and conducted according to accepted accounting methodology and practices, the president of RAVEN (Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs) said today.

“If there is going to be a report going to the federal government from BC, all parties must be heard and all the facts must be aired and the findings must be impartial,” said David Williams.

“We fear however that this is not what energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Bill Bennett had in mind this week when he announced he was preparing a report on the mine’s economic benefits for the federal government in an attempt to secure its approval for the proposed mine,” Williams stated.

“Mr. Bennett’s comments indicate he has already decided that the report will simply back up all the claims the company has made, but it would be an abuse of public dollars if all British Columbians end up receiving is a fan letter for the mining company paid for with their taxes.”

The government’s track record is not encouraging. According to an analysis by Dr. Joan Kuyek, the revenue and other economic claims included in Taseko Mines Ltd’s feasibility studies were not produced independently. They were estimates produced by a Taseko vice president.

These company figures appear to have been accepted without question by the BC Environmental Assessment Office review. These claims have since been wrongly promoted as fact by Taseko and Mr. Bennett, who have ignored or arbitrarily dismissed detailed analysis that demonstrates the costs to British Columbians could dwarf any revenues generated by the mine.

The government and company, for example, claim that the company would pay the industrial rate to power the mine. However, paying the “industrial rate” means the mine would purchase its electricity at less than half the cost to BC Hydro of purchasing new power to meet the massive increased demand. Someone would have to pay this difference, which would be at least $35 million a year and likely considerably more. How much of this tab would residential consumers and other BC Hydro customers have to pick up?

There has also been no response to detailed analysis which brings into serious question the estimates provided by the company in terms of the jobs that would be created for the community, and the taxes and other revenues that would be generated, or of the economic costs that would be cause by the destruction to the environment.

“The government needs an independent analysis of the economic consequences of the project to British Columbians, including the very significant impact on BC Hydro and its customers,” said resource economist. Dr. Marvin Shaffer.

“Surely the government should be trying to give British Columbians all the facts – not a report edited to meet Mr. Bennett’s well publicized personal views. We therefore challenge the Premier to appoint an independent auditor, with clear terms of reference to hear from all parties and examine all the claims and data.”

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Media contacts:
David Williams, RAVEN President: 250.592.1088, after Tuesday 250.935.6861
Dr. Marvin Shaffer: 604.787.1620

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