Don't kiss goodbye $11 billion by rejecting New Prosperity mine: Hochstein

If the Canadian federal government says no to Taskeo Mines' New Prosperity copper mine, they and the British Columbia provincial government can kiss goodbye a combined $700 million tax boost every year for twenty years, writes Philip Hochstein in the Vancouver Sun.

The gold-copper project in northern British Columbia initially raised the ire of environmentalists and First Nations groups for the proposed destruction of Fish Lake to be used as a tailings impoundment. A provincial environmental assessment process approved the project a few years back, but the federal government’s review then rejected the proposal late in 2010.

Taseko's revised plan includes an additional $300 million in capital investment to limit the mine's environmental impact, notably the preservation of Fish Lake, and the company is optimistic that the federal government will this time give a green light.

New Prosperity, for example, would generate $11 billion worth of gross domestic product over 20 years. That’s enough money to have paid for all of these projects combined: The Canada Line, new SkyTrain Line, four lane the Cariboo connector highway, the new Port Mann Bridge and Highway 1 widening, South Fraser perimeter road, Vancouver Convention Centre, three major urban hospital expansions, seven elementary schools and 12 MRI machines. That’s how much economic activity New Prosperity represents and that is what we are saying no to when we decide to oppose a mine that would be built and operated to the highest mining standards in the world.

When you live and work in Metro Vancouver or Greater Victoria, it’s easy to ignore the impact of mining, but the British Columbia mining story is exceptional. There is no industry in B.C. right now that has the potential to contribute more to our economy and improve the way of life here than mining, because few industries can create wealth out of raw resources as mining does. And yes, I mean improve life and create wealth in the big cities too.

Right now there are five proposed mines, including New Prosperity and six mines undergoing major expansion in this province. British Columbians need them all. LNG is an exciting potential economic engine for our province but the old engines have served us well and will continue to do so far into the future.

If it were not for projects like New Prosperity that require thousands of construction, planning, operational, and support jobs, the alternative is higher taxes and fewer services. This would directly impact our quality of life, everywhere. So the next time we are upset because the government can’t provide services we desperately need or see a story on the news about someone who has fallen through the cracks caused by a lack of money, we should remember that we can say yes to a new mine and put that new money to good use for all of us.

Mining’s future is now. Our need is now.

Read Hochstein's article in full here.

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