Williams Lake – Taseko Mines Ltd.’s New Prosperity Mine, a controversial development proposed for years, has been rejected for a second time by Canada’s Minister of Environment.
“The New Prosperity Mine project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated,” said Minister Leona Aglukkaq in an announcement Wednesday evening, concluding a review by the federal government of a report by an independent Review Panel.
“This decision comes as an incredible relief to all those who have wanted to see Fish Lake and the surrounding Tsilhqot’in Nation territory protected from this proposed mine project,” said Wilderness Committee’s national campaign director Joe Foy. “The Minister has absolutely made the right decision in saying ‘No’ to this risky proposal, and now that it is done with, it’s time to protect this area for good.”
The proposed mine, situated in Tsilhqot’in Nation Territory just west of Williams Lake, is strongly opposed by the Tsilhqot’in and their allies, and has long been a focus of conservation campaigns by several BC environmental groups.
The original Prosperity Mine proposal was turned down by the federal government in 2010, after a scathing report from the Review Panel that identified significant threats such as the loss of Fish Lake, an abundant fishing lake in the proposed mine area.
The company re-submitted an application, renaming the project as the New Prosperity Mine and promising to save Fish Lake, but the revised proposal was still recognized as a major threat to the region.
While this new decision acknowledges a number of the project’s serious impacts – including adverse effects on fish and fish habitat, on the use of lands for traditional and cultural purposes, and on grizzly and moose populations – the Minister’s statement still “invites the submission of another proposal” from the proponent that addresses the government’s concerns.