Supreme Court okays work at Taseko’s New Prosperity

The Supreme Court of Canada has cleared the way for Taseko Mines of Vancouver to begin geotechnical work at its New Prosperity gold-copper project 125 km south of Williams Lake. The Court dismissed the Tsilhqot’in First Nation’s application to appeal earlier judgements from other courts.

“Getting permission to mine in British Columbia may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. It just takes patience,” said Russell Hallbauer, president and CEO of Taseko. “The SCC decision is clear. provincial permits authorizing mineral exploration and development can, if done with care and consideration, withstand any possible legal challenge.”

Now that the Supreme Court of Canada has denied further appeal, there is no other legal authority to which the Tsilhqot’in First Nation can turn

Taseko’s plans for New Prosperity project have long been opposed by Indigenous groups. First Nations claim Tiztan Biny – or Fish Lake – is of spiritual importance, and they opposed Taseko’s proposal to use it for tailings storage.

When concerns were raised, Taseko amended its tailings plans so that the lake would play no part in them. Subsequently, the B.C. environmental review committee refused to okay the development as did the federal government. That decision sent Taseko back to court, charging that the denial was made using the wrong tailings plan.

With the tailings matter sorted out, the provincial environmental agency gave the green light to New Prosperity. That sent the First Nation back to court, first to the B.C. Supreme Court and then to the B.C. Court of Appeal. Now that the Supreme Court of Canada has denied further appeal, there is no other legal authority to which the Tsilhqot’in First Nation can turn.

The New Prosperity mine has proven and probable reserves of 831.0 million tonnes grading 0.41 g/t gold and 0.23% copper, containing 11.0 million oz. of gold and 4.2 billion lb. of copper. The measured and indicated resource is 1.0 billion tonnes at 0.41 g/t gold and 0.24% copper, containing 13.3 million oz. of gold and 5.3 billion lb. of copper.

This story first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal

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