Canada’s BC government faces legal action over gold mine rejection

The government of British Columbia, Canada, is facing legal action over refusing to give the requested permits to a proposed gold and copper mine on the shores of Morrison Lake, in the province’s northern interior.

According to The Globe and Mail, Pacific Booker Minerals director, Erik Tornquist, said the decision has hurt investment and confidence in the province.

“They can do what they want,” Energy and Mines Minister Rich Coleman said in an interview Thursday. “I won’t comment on the file as they go to court, but I was one of the statutory officers who made that decision, and I think it was the right decision.”

Environment Minister Terry Lake refused comment, although the company’s claim is not yet filed. “There are legal proceedings under way so I would not like to comment.”

Pacific Booker Minerals had proposed the construction of the mine at Morrison Lake in the northwest of British Colombia, 65 kilometers north of Smithers.

The mine would have been situated directly adjacent to the 15-kilometre-long Morrison Lake at the headwaters of the Skeena River, which serves as the second-largest producer of sockeye salmon in the province.

Its facilities would have included processing plants, sewage and waste water management infrastructure, and storage for waste rocks, low-grade ore, tailings and sludge.

Last October’s decision shocked the mining industry as the Liberal government had rarely rejected a project of this kind until then.

The environmental assessment report concluded that the mine proponent had satisfied concerns about fish habitat, water quality and first nations consultation. But the Ministry of Environment said the mine proposal posed an unacceptable risk to nearby water resources.

(Grizzly bears fishing for salmon. Image by Oksana Perkins/Shutterstock.com)

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