The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency announced Friday it is making available $110,000 under its participant funding program to assist groups and individuals to participate in the environmental assessment of the proposed New Prosperity mine project.
Lucille Jamault, communications manager from CEAA said the funds are for individuals who want to comment on the panel’s terms of reference, the draft guidelines for the environmental impact statements that will be prepared by Taseko Mines Ltd., and to participate in public hearings.
With the deadline being Dec. 19 to apply for consideration, Jamault estimated the agency will announce the successful applicants early in 2012.
In March 2009, four applications received a total of $82,250 under the same program to participate in the environmental assessment of the original Prosperity mine project proposal. Although funding for aboriginal groups to participate in the process hasn’t been announced yet, Jamault said there will be an envelope for aboriginal groups to apply for funding under a similar program later.
Tsilhqot’in National Government tribal chair and Anaham (Tl’etinqox) chief Joe Alphonse confirmed Friday the Tsilhqot’in Nation will apply for those funds again.
“The funds won’t be adequate, but the company will be making claims and we will need to have a well-educated response,” Alphonse said. “You can never have enough community meetings and forums and it doesn’t hurt to hire experts to come in and help us. We’re in a David and Goliath situation here.”
Taseko Mines vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison anticipates participants in the environmental assessment process will have questions about the new elements of the design, but most people will go there with a view on the project either for or against it.
“That’s what happened last time,” Battison said.