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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Local artists put their talent on display at the Terrace Art Gallery

Despite the winter weather, the event was filled with art enthusiasts as they perused local works

Extreme winter weather leads to Monday school and bus route closures

BC Transit, School District 82 and Coast Mountain College all announced closures

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

BC Green Party leader visits Wet’suwet’en camps at heart of pipeline conflict

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada and First Nations

Another snowstorm expected for Terrace and Kitimat area

Wind is expected up to 80 km per hour

Meng extradition case back in court for second day on double criminality test

Meng is accused of lying to HSBC about Huawei’s relationship with an Iran-based subsidiary

Canada to ratify new NAFTA next week following U.S. Senate approval: Trudeau

Trudeau says millions of Canadians depend on stable, reliable trade

Skier dies at Fernie Alpine Resort

It’s the second person to die in a tree well at a ski resort in B.C. in the past week.

Warm ‘blob’ could be behind mass starvation of North Pacific seabirds: study

Unprecedented death toll raises red flag for North American marine ecosystems

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mom shares ‘insane’ experience of viral dinosaur video

Tabitha Cooper filmed her costumed sons meeting their grandma at the Victoria International Airport

Vancouver Island home to one of Canada’s largest private skateboard collections

Eric Pinto owns hundreds of boards, spanning multiple decades

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

Most Read