Taseko’s “New Prosperity” mine is the subject of yet another court skirmish as the federal government attempts to close the books once and for all on the ill-conceived gold/copper mine in Tsilhqot’in territory. On April 23-25, the federal court in Vancouver will hear Canada’s application for a permanent injunction to prohibit Taseko from conducting any drilling in Tsilhqot’in territory in pursuit of the “New Prosperity” mine proposal.
In the wake of multiple rejections by the Tsilhqot’in National Government, the government of Canada and, most recently, a federal judge, the “New Prosperity” mine seemed dead in the water. However, in 2017, during the last days of the outgoing BC Liberal government, Taseko obtained provincial permits to begin drilling in Tsilhqot’in territory, even though the mining project had been rejected twice by the federal government. Taseko wanted to start drilling while it appealed the rejection in federal court. The drilling program would have involved clearing 76 kilometres of new or modified trails, 122 exploratory drill holes, 367 excavated test pits and 20 kilometres of seismic lines near Fish Lake (Teztan Biny).
On April 23-25, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and Taseko will argue in court the issue of whether the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 prohibits Taseko’s drilling program from proceeding at Teztan Biny in the face of the rejection of New Prosperity Mine. While the Tsilhqot’in are not party to these proceedings between the company and the federal government, Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua and Councillor Loretta Williams will be present in the courtroom.
Should the judge rule against Canada in this proceeding, the Tsilhqot’in National Government has prepared its own injunction application, which will be heard in early May.
The mining proposal underwent two federal environmental reviews. Both found that the proposal would have significant and long-term detrimental effects on the environment and on the Tsilhqot’in people and their lands and waters.
There seems to be no end to the ways the Tsilhqot’in must defend their pristine territory at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) from the plans of Taseko Mines Ltd. to turn it into an open pit gold and copper mine. The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) has been fighting the company at every step. To date, Taseko has lost virtually every motion that it has brought. But that doesn’t stop the onslaught. Please support the Tsilhqot’in. Together, we can – and will – protect Teztan Biny once and for all.