The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) will back the Tsilhqot’in in their fight against “a bid to revive one of the worst mining proposals in BC history,” the First Nation said in a statement on July 14.
Last year the Canadian government rejected a bid by Taseko Mines Ltd. of Vancouver to develop a gold-and-copper mine near Tsilhqot’in lands that would have drained a life-giving lake that lies in a major watershed and replaced it elsewhere with a man-made lake stocked with trout.
Now, like Jason of horror-movie fame, it’s ba-a-a-ck. Taseko has resubmitted its proposal with the offending measure still in it.
“This is as important as the Chiefs-in-Assembly’s pledge last year to support us in defending our lands against the original proposal, and the opposition to this repackaged but equally bad mine is as strong as ever,” said Chief Joe Alphonse, tribal chair of the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG), in a statement after the AFN vote at its General Assembly in Moncton, New Brunswick.
“The renewed support of the AFN gives us the confidence that we are on the right track,” he said. “As Indigenous Peoples, it’s not always about economics, but about the environment that we live with. We don’t just look at things for the next 20 years, but for many generations into the future. The Prosperity deposit lies in a sacred and sensitive region where mining is not acceptable.”
The new plan involves adding $300 million in capital to the originally $800 million mining project, the news site BClocalnews.com reported. The mine site is 77 miles southwest of Williams Lake. It would turn Fish Lake into a tailings pond, as well as destroy Little Fish Lake and part of Fish Creek, according to the Toronto Sun.
British Columbia Conservative leader John Cummins gave a speech on July 13 lauding the mine’s economic impact and saying it should move ahead.
“The [provincial] government has to do whatever it takes to get this thing up and moving as quickly as possible,” he said, according to BClocalnews.com. “The time for talking is over, and we need that action now.”