David P. Ball
Pictured outside Taseko Mines Ltd. 2012 annual meeting, from left, Tsilhqot’in National Government Chief Joe Alphonse, Xeni Gwet'in chief Marilyn Baptiste, Union of BC Indian Chiefs vice-president Bob Chamberlin and president Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, and Council of Canadians chair Maude Barlow.

Taseko Sues Canada Over Third Rejection of Environmentally Devastating Mine Proposal

David P. Ball

Taseko Mines Ltd., whose proposal to decimate sacred lands and pristine habitat for a $1.5 billion gold and copper mine in British Columbia has been rejected not once but three times by the Canadian government, is going to court to ram its project through—even though Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has deemed the latest environmental report “very damning.”

Taseko Mines Ltd. launched its legal challenge on March 26—a judicial review asking a judge to overturn the federal decision and find parts of the country's 2012 environmental assessment law “unconstitutional.” It is the second such challenge from the company in three months, and neither has yet been heard in court.

“That's the only reasonable option open to us at this time to secure the necessary authorization to build the New Prosperity mine,” said Taseko's vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison. “The federal review panel failed in their duty to deliver a fair process. The consequence of their failure resulted in the federal Minister of Environment making the wrong decision.”

Battison said the issue all “stems back” to the proposed facility to hold the mine's tailings. After its first government rejection, the company redesigned the project's proposal for storing mine waste. Originally the plan was to completely drain Fish Lake—“the total draining of it,” he said of the initial plan, “so Fish Lake would be no longer.”

The revised proposal was dubbed New Prosperity, and Battison said a pond liner would have prevented leakage from the tailings.

“It was clear that liner was not understood or was ignored by Natural Resources Canada,” he said.


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