Taseko Mines submitted a new plan for its Prosperity project on Monday, saying it has addressed environmental concerns that saw its last plan rejected by the Canadian federal government. The revised plan would push the capital costs up by $300 million, to $1.1 billion.
The gold- copper project in northern British Columbia raised the ire of environmentalists and First Nations groups for the proposed destruction of a lake to be used as a tailings impoundment. A provincial environmental assessment process had approved the project, but the federal government's own review rejected it last November.
Taseko says the revised plan "greatly reduces environmental impacts, preserves Fish Lake and its aquatics, and enables all mine operations…to be contained in one single watershed." CEO Russell Hallbauer said the original plan was constructed in 2005, but the project's economics no longer require the lake to be filled in because the prices of copper and gold are significantly higher now.
"Our initiative to preserve Fish Lake and accommodate the concerns of the Federal Government and First Nations communities is a major commitment and undertaking by Taseko," Hallbauer said in a news release.
The proposed open-pit mine near Williams Lake would have a 20-year mine life and produce up to 70,000 tonnes of ore per day.