The Tsilhqot’in Nation is calling on Taseko Mines Ltd. not to follow through with plans for exploratory drilling at the Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) area for its proposed New Prosperity Mine, scheduled to begin around July 2, 2019. File image

Tsilhqot’in Nation urges Taseko Mines to stop drilling plans before conflict grows

Nation said Teztan Biny area is of ‘profound cultural and spiritual importance’

The Tsilhqot’in Nation is calling for a safe and peaceful resolution to prevent Taseko Mines Ltd. from doing exploratory drilling for its proposed New Prosperity Mine west of Williams Lake.

The conflict is the latest confrontation in a long legal battle between the Nation, which has declared title rights in the area and the mining company.

On June 13, Taseko gave two-week notice that it planned to begin its drilling program on Tuesday, July 2 in an area 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake).

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Tsilhqot’in Nation said it wants TML to stand down on the drilling program and not bring machinery and personnel to the site. The nation is also asking the B.C. government to step up and help resolve the issue.

“The Tsilhqo’tin Nation opposes this drilling program as an imminent violation of its human rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the statement noted.

Teztan Biny is located in traditional Tsilhqot’in territory and includes 300,000 hectares of wilderness and wildlife habitat. It is just outside of the 1,900 square kilometre area in which the TNG won title over in a historic 2014 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, but still within a broader area under land claim.

Tribal chair Chief Joe Alphonse told the Tribune to develop a mine in that area would be the equivalent of “vandalizing a church.”

“Taseko’s project has been rejected two times by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency – there’s no chance it will ever get built,” he added.

Since the permit was first issued in the summer of 2017, the Tsilhqot’in Nation has appealed it several times, however, on June 13, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the latest appeal.

Read more: Supreme Court of Canada dismisses appeal against Taseko permit near Williams Lake

Russell Hallbauer, president and CEO of Taseko, said after the ruling by the SCC it was an important point in time.

“The law has been tested at the highest levels, the legal challenges are over, the permit is sound, the work can and will proceed,” Hallbauer said in a press release. “What this ruling does mean is that we are taking the steps necessary to get closer to the day when such a decision can be made to build New Prosperity.”

Hallbauer said the site for the proposed mine contains the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposit in Canada and easily among the top 15 in the word.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Climate change, economy and reconciliation take centre stage at Oct. 15 All-Candidates Forum

Six of the eight candidates were in attendance at the Smithers event

Slow down for students: School zone speeds now in effect

RCMP will be making sure drivers keep it at 30 km/h or less, with heavy fines for breaking the law

Queen Charlotte fire hall is a go

Start of construction marked with groundbreaking ceremony

NCRD Board turns attention to Haida Gwaii

Fishing concerns, recreation commission, and Sandspit festival all receive focus

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Japanese buyer expands wood pellet contract with B.C.’s Pinnacle

Mitsui and Co. increases contract with Interior energy producer

ELECTION 2019: Have Justin Trudeau’s Liberals really cut middle-class taxes?

Conservative Andrew Scheer vows to cut bottom bracket, NDP’s Jagmeet Singh targets wealth tax

B.C. RCMP officer suing the force for malicious prosecution

Cpl. Tammy Hollingsworth cleared of wrongdoing after misconduct hearing

Talk to your kids about vaping, B.C.’s top doctor says

B.C. health officials have discovered the first vaping-related illness in the province

Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations court battle against RioTinto Alcan to start next week

Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations are taking Rio Tinto Alcan to court over their functioning of the Kenney Dam that affects the Nechako River

Alberta truck convoy plans counter-protest at climate rally with Greta Thunberg

United We Roll organizer says similar protest planned for Swedish teen’s event in Edmonton

Most Read