The Tsilhqot’in Nation is in court this week to challenge drilling permits issued to Taseko Mines Ltd. (TML) by the outgoing BC government during their last days in office in 2017. As a crowd of supporters stood in a circle on the courthouse steps the morning of June 25th with Tsilhqot’in elders and Councillor Loretta Williams, we felt uplifted by the powerful warrior spirit evoked by the singing and drumming. If anything in the world can beat Taseko’s thrice-rejected mine that keeps popping up like a zombie in a bad horror movie, it is the unconquered spirit of the Tsilhqot’in people.
Last summer, even as the Tsilhqot’in struggled to contain catastrophic wildfires in their territory, the Christie Clark government quietly authorized Taseko to conduct a comprehensive drilling program in the Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) area. They did this literally days before leaving office, and knowing full well that since the federal government had rejected the mine, it couldn’t legally be built.
In April 2018, the federal government attempted to stop Taseko activating the permits with an injunction application. Unfortunately, this injunction was denied. Now only the Tsilhqot’in court challenge stands between Teztan Biny and Taseko’s shovels in the ground.
And we’re not talking just a few drill holes here and there. Taseko wants to drill 122 exploratory holes, excavate 367 test pits and build 20 kilometres of seismic lines. There are also trees to cut, roads to put in: the laundry list of proposed damage is long and daunting.
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