CEAA asks for more info from Taseko

CEAA notes the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed New Prosperity mine did not include some information.

A review from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency notes the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed New Prosperity mine did not include some critical aspects of the environmental assessment requirements set out in the EIS guidelines.

Taseko Mines Ltd. received a review of its draft EIS for the copper-gold mine project on July 6.

“The reviewers identified sections in the Draft EIS where information specified in the EIS guidelines is missing, presented insufficient detail to enable a determination of the potential environmental effects of the project, and/or presented using methodologies that would also preclude such determination,” writes Lisa Walls, director for CEAA.

With the letter, Wells enclosed a 44-page screening table containing 222 comments.

Taseko’s vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison describes the review as “helpful.”

“This is all part of the process. It was just a draft that we had sent them. We now have the benefit of CEAA’s input and response to the draft so we will now be able to consider those comments and input and complete the document and submit it as a final EIS to the panel,” he says, adding the response was expected and is normal in these cases. “There was nothing raised in CEAA’s comments that we have not anticipated or that will be difficult to respond to. It’s all pretty straight forward.”

He says Taseko should have its final draft ready in a few weeks. Tsilhqot’in National Government chair and Tl’etinqox (Anaham) chief Joe Alphonse alleges if Taseko thinks the mine is already a done deal, and government is going to accept anything Taseko submits and ram it through, the review is a wake-up call for the company.

“Hopefully the environmental assessment is a legitimate process and they are going to be held accountable just like any other company,” Alphonse says. “They may get political support, but there are no political people sitting on that panel.

“I don’t buy the fact that Taseko was anticipating the response they received on the draft. I think this company is trying to get the project through as fast as they can.”

He adds that he’s grateful the review is as full as it is because it will put the environmental assessment back even further.

“I’m happy because we’ll have a new provincial government by then,” he predicts.

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson says the panel has deconstructed the EIS and pointed out all the weaknesses.

A copy of the review is available at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/050/documents/p63928/80180E.pdf.