Taseko Mines weathers multiple storms

Canadian Taseko Mines (TSE:TKO) is having a rocky end of the year as workers threaten to strike at the company’s copper-molybdenum Gibraltar mine, in British Columbia.  Were that not enough First Nation representatives are calling the company to “stop wasting everyone’s time” and withdraw the controversial New Prosperity mine project proposal.

The miner said it has received a 72-hour strike notice by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) Union, which represent workers at Gibraltar.

On Monday, an independent panel reviewing the gold-copper New Prosperity project told Taseko that major deficiencies with the proposal must be addressed before the group can consider proceeding to public hearings.

In an e-mailed declaration, Tsilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chair, Chief Joe Alphonse, remarked this is not the first time the miner received a letter from the authorities outlining deficiencies in the company’s environmental impact statement (EIS).

Alphonse added that Taseko has spent years and over $100 million on this project, “despite being advised of serious concerns with the project in 1995 by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Governments and the Tsilhqot’in Nation, among other First Nations.”

The proposed open-pit mine, to be located approximately 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, has raised the ire of environmentalists and First Nations groups for the proposed destruction of a lake to be used as a tailings impoundment.

The original $1.1 billion proposal was rejected in 2010 by the federal government due to the company’s plan to drain Fish Lake for the storage of non-acid generating rock.

In the spring of 2011, Taseko came back with a new proposal that would save Fish Lake, but the Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) criticized the plan as, from an environmental perspective, worse than the original one.

In response, the Vancouver-based firm filed suit against WCWC and its outreach director, Sven Biggs, for defamation regarding the project.

Taseko’s shares were trading low in Toronto, down 2,36%  to 2.89 at 1:30 pm ET.