- Our Town
TNG: Prosperity mine rejection a relief
The federal government’s decision to turn down the New Prosperity Mine is beyond his wildest belief, Tsilhqot’in Chief and tribal chair Joe Alphonse said Wednesday evening.
“We hoped for the best, expected the worst. This is huge news for us.”
Feeling vindicated, Alphonse said the federal government’s decision gives First Nations in the region faith in the environmental review process.
“We’re thankful we’ve been heard and thankful we could deliver the message on behalf of our nation.”
Alphonse said without the mine being developed, First Nations will be able to use the area in the way they feel most appropriate.
In the near future, the Tsilhqot’in National Government will introduce its own mining policies.
“We welcome opportunities to look at projects that are environmentally sound and we need economic opportunities.”
The mine would have threatened Fish Lake, Alphonse added.
The lesson people can learn from the entire process is the fact that no one group can be excluded when projects are being moved forward, Alphonse suggested.
“That’s the challenge. We need to be able to walk through each other’s doors and respect each other if we want to move forward.”
Through the two project proposals and subsequent environmental assessment hearings, communities have been divided, he admitted.
“We look forward to building and re-establishing relationships instead of being in a situation where one group is pitted against the other.”