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Taseko – Suing Canada

Taseko - Suing Canada

Taseko, in their own words, “is a Canadian mining company, focused on the operation and development of mines in British Columbia. The attached photo shows the location of their mining operations. “Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Taseko is the owner (75%) and operator of the Gibralter Mine, the second largest open pit copper-molybdenum mine in Canada. Taseko’s New Prosperity Project, which is currently in the Environmental Assessment process, is one of the largest undeveloped gold-copper deposits in the world. In addition, the Aley Niobium and Harmony Gold projects are two longer term development opportunities that provide Taseko with a diverse project pipeline.” (from Taseko Mines Limited, Saturday, March 29, 2014, http://www.tasekomines.com/home). The company, according to Indian Country Today Media Network, is suing Canada over a third rejection of the proposed development of the New Prosperity mine. Chief Joe Alphonse of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, was very vocal in his arguments against that project. In an unusual move the proposal to develop the New Prosperity mine was rejected by the Canadian government, for the third time. What made that move most unusual was that the rejection was supported by Prime Minister Steven Harper. He has a besmirched reputation as a staunch advocate for resource extraction operators and industry. Contrary to his usual stance, Harper is quoted by the Indian Country source, “The environmental assessment was extremely negative.” (March 3 speech quoted by the industry news site Mining.com), “It said very clearly as the project was presently and previously conceived would not address the long term destruction of that system…It was also in an area–to be frank on this also- where there are unresolved land claim issues (from First nations).” An initial proposal for the mine, located near Williams Lake, British Columbia was first rejected in 1995, on similar grounds. Now, the Taseko company is suing the pro-industry government currently presiding in Canada, for the right to go ahead with mining operations in the Williams Lake area. As originally proposed, Fish Lake’s water system would have been completely drained and a man-made pond installed for the containment of the large amounts of poisonous wastes produced in such a mining operation. An amended proposal in 2010 was deemed far more destructive than the original proposal, and it, too, was denied. First Nation members will be closely following this most recent action by Taseko. They have a highly vested interest in the case – it is their homeland. According to Grand Chief Stewart Philip, “We were shocked and appalled when we learned the Harper government and his cronies in the mining industry got a second kick at the can.” Let’s hope that environmental protection standards will remain in place that and that unbiased (and unbought) justice will prevail.

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