Taseko files second judicial review of rejected New Prosperity project

Taseko Mines Ltd. has filed a second judicial review in federal court against the federal government for its decision to turn down the company
Taseko Mines Ltd. has filed a second judicial review in federal court against the federal government for its decision to turn down the company's New Prosperity Mine proposal. The company has said all along its proposal would not harm Fish Lake (seen here).
— image credit: Photo submitted

Wrongdoing by government ministers, ministries, civil servants and agencies caused New Prosperity Mine's latest defeat, Taseko Mines Ltd. said.

On Wednesday the company filed a judicial review claiming the federal panel failed in its duty to deliver a fair process which caused the company's mine project to be rejected by the federal government in February.

"The company is seeking to clarify both the failed process and the decision that stemmed from it in a court of law," said Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs with Taskeo Mines Ltd. Wednesday. "It's the only reasonable option for Taseko at this time."

Through the judicial review, the company is asking for orders to quash Minister of Environment Leona Aglukkaq's decision to turn the mine down because it is "likely to cause  adverse environmental effects."

The review asks the court to reject the decision by cabinet that "significant environmental adverse affects the project is likely to cause are not justified," and that the court refer the decision back to cabinet for reconsideration.

Taseko is also challenging some of the sections of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act as "unconstitutional" as part of its judicial review.

"Our aim remains the same and that's to seek the necessary authorizations to build the New Prosperity Mine in the Cariboo," Battison said.

In its notice of application for the judicial review, Taseko has submitted evidence gleaned from Xeni Gwet'in Chief Roger William's personal Facebook page.

It points out meetings William and other Tsilhqot'in National Government representatives attended in Ottawa with Aglukkaq on Oct. 8, 2013 "before the Minister made a decision," and on Oct. 9 with Michael Wernick of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada; Bob Hamilton of Environment Canada; Matthew King of Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Louis Levesque of Transport Canada; and Serge Dupont of Natural Resources Canada. He also met with Ron Hallman, the President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).

"Some or all of these individuals were involved in advising the Minister and the Governor in Council in respect of their decisions regarding the New Prosperity Project under CEAA 2012," Taseko noted, adding the project was discussed but Taseko was not present.

“It doesn't surprise me, that this company wouldn't go to any extreme to move their agenda forward," said Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair for the TNG.

When they left the meetings in Ottawa in October, the reality is the group was disheartened by how the meetings went, he added.

"We have limited resources and can't afford to fly back and forth to Ottawa. We went there to counter what Taseko had been putting out in the media."

Alphonse questions Taseko's complaint about the meetings.

"They've had quite a series of lobbying on their behalf, are they taking that into consideration?" he said. "Are they comparing Minister Bill Bennett's and Premier Christy Clark's visits to Ottawa and saying we had full access? Get real."

Taseko and its lobbyists probably had 10 times the amount of time with government that the TNG had, he continued.

Wednesday's judicial review is the second one Taseko has filed.

In November, the company filed a judicial review claiming the environmental assessment panel's report should also be dismissed.


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