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

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

Trail RCMP, coroner, investigating fisherman’s sudden death

The Maple Ridge man, in his 50s, died while fishing on a bridge near Trail

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Large police presence in Castlegar on July 9 involved man peeing on street

Three police officers responded to the incident near the Black Rooster Pub at around 1:30 p.m.

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read