Fish Lake Update

Taseko’s revised proposal for a Fish Lake gold and copper mine would be even more of “an environmental disaster” than the company’s original proposal and must be turned down for federal public review, ten environmental groups said recently, reports the Sierra Club.

The Canadian Environment Assessment Agency (CEAA) is scheduled to decide by November 7 whether to accept Taseko’s revised “New Prosperity Mine” project in B.C.’s interior for review — a project the company itself has said would wreak more damage than its first proposal. Taseko’s first $1 billion proposal was rejected by the federal government last November, following initial approval by the B.C. government.

“The federal government’s own environmental review panel pointed out that a Fish Lake mine would cause irreparable damage to both First Nations rights and the environment, including to fish stocks and grizzly populations,” said Sierra Club BC Executive Director George Heyman.

Photo: Lee-Anne Stack Fish Lake mine area
Photo: Lee-Anne Stack

Taseko’s revised project would surround Fish Lake with the proposed open-pit mine, and Fish Lake would be unusable for the life of the mine (up to 33 years). Little Fish Lake, which is crucial to the ecosystem that supports the 80,000 rainbow trout that live in Fish Lake, would still be destroyed and used as a toxic tailings pond.

Changes to the federal Fisheries Act allow metal mining corporations to use Canadian lakes to dispose of the millions of tonnes of toxic waste rock and tailings they generate. Environmental groups are asking Ottawa to close the legislative loophole that allows destruction of Canada’s freshwater bodies for toxic mine tailings, and to ensure the intent of our Fisheries Act is no longer undermined.

Groups supporting the Tsilhqot’in National Government and urging the CEAA to reject Taseko’s most recent request for review of its Fish Lake mine proposal include the Canadian Boreal Initiative, Sierra Club BC, West Coast Environmental Law, ForestEthics, Wilderness Committee, Greenpeace, BC Spaces for Nature, Georgia Strait Alliance, Sierra Club Canada, and Wildsight.

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Alison Wheatley

Alison Wheatley

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