Taseko Decision Is a Slap in the Face

The Federal government's decision on Tuesday to disallow Prosperity mine project to proceed is causing upset, and also some cheer.

"First off, it’s a slap in the face to the British Columbia officials who had approve it and IMHO, are more likely to be tuned in to a matter in their own back yard. It’s also a slap to the vast majority of people who reside in the region who gave strong support for the project," writes Peter Grandich in the Grandich Letter.

Vaughn Palmer, columnist for the Vancouver Sun, calls the decision not just a slap but a double slap for Gordon Campbell. The Premier lobbied hard and failed to get approval for the mine, says Palmer. He has also been arguing for a single-track process for major mine development.

The current two-track process sees separate federal and provincial environmental reviews.

But that part of the premier's pitch is undermined by the decision here, because the B.C. process greenlighted the mine earlier this year.

Hard to imagine that either Ottawa or environmental activists would agree to any merger of the two environmental processes.

That is unless B.C. were to adopt the more rigorous federal standards.

In sum, Ottawa's decision is a double rebuke to the B.C. Liberals and another sign of the diminishing powers of persuasion of Premier Campbell.

The president of Taseko Mines is unhappy.

"We are extremely disappointed by this decision, not only for our shareholders but for the communities that were relying on the development of Prosperity to help offset the economic situation in the Cariboo-Chilcotin. Our next steps will be discussions with both the Federal and Provincial Government's to look at options so that this mining project can move forward and meet the criteria that the Federal Government deem appropriate," stated Russell Hallbauer, President and CEO of Taseko.

Meanwhile First Nation groups near the mine are lauding the decision.

"The Tsilhqot’in National Government and its’ community members are rejoicing in today’s decision by Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice against issuing permits for the proposed Prosperity mine in central BC. This ruling will serve as a catalyst for reform and a new relationship between governments, the mining industry and First Nations," wrote the group in a press release.

Since the announcement last night, shares of Taseko Mines have lost 32% in Wednesday morning trading.

You can contact Michael McCrae at [email protected] or @michaelmccrae