Teztan Biny,Fish Lake, has been a sacred place of spiritual renewal for countless generations for the Tsilhqot’in. Teztan Biny is also rich in gold and copper, resources Taseko Mines Ltd. wants to exploit with its proposed New Prosperity Mine. The 1.5-billion dollar mine would seriously affect Teztan Biny, Yanah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and the surrounding lands. The lakes are in the headwaters of the last major Fraser River salmon run.
For over 10 years, RAVEN has supported the Tsilhqot’in through a long and bitter series of legal battles against Taseko Mines.The small Nation has been typically outspent $100 to $1 by industry and government. Taseko has deep pockets, and the appeals keep coming. In facing down a desperate mining company against seemingly impossible odds, the Tsilhqot’in have won time and again in court. Drawing spiritual strength from a deep connection to the land, the Tsilhqot’in Nation is supported in its resistance thanks to RAVEN’s donor-supported legal defence fund.
“We need to protect these places. We need to have clean water here, and also downstream. Through the last decade or so, we’ve struggled against Taseko Mines Limited, who have put forward 2 proposals, both rejected, one in 2010 and one in 2013.
Over the span of the past 10 years we’ve had a lot of support from people across the country. We are looking for continued support from people in this battle.” — Chief Russell Myers-Ross, Yunesit’in
Even though the Prosperity/New Prosperity project has been rejected — TWICE — by Canada’s environmental assessor and the federal government, B.C.’s Mineral Explorations Act contains a loophole which allows mineral exploration : even when no actual mine permit is in place. Because of British Columbia’s antiquated regulations, the Tsilhqot’in are in the position of fighting a mine that, legally, cannot be built, even as heavy machines and drilling rigs move onto their territory.
This summer, Tsilhqot’in members led a peaceful blockade to stop Taseko’s drilling operations on their lands. They have also been to court seeking an injunction to prevent any exploratory drilling or road building. On September 1st, the Federal Court of Appeal will make a ruling to uphold, or cancel, Taseko’s exploration permit.
Taseko’s exploration permit expires in January 2020. If the current permit is not renewed, the company would have to reapply under a new legislative framework with more stringent environmental conditions. Each legal hurdle costs money: it’s not right that this small impoverished community should have to use limited funds to fight Taseko’s illegal mine.
The Tsilhqot’in are calling on international supporters to donate to their legal defense fund as they fight Taseko’s encroachment on their sacred lands. It is also a time of resilience, as this Indigenous Nation push back against relentless mining exploration and asserts their rights to protect their sacred homelands.
Take a stand for wild salmon, sacred land, and Indigenous rights. Join in supporting the Tsilhqot’in legal challenge to Taseko: https://fundraise.raventrust.com/give/152727/#!/donation/checkout