New Prosperity Mine panel hearings begin Monday afternoon

The Canadian Environmental Assessment federal review panel hearings begin Monday afternoon in Williams Lake.

Under sunny skies, the environmental assessment panel review hearings for the New Prosperity Mine begin in Williams Lake this afternoon (Monday).

If approved by the federal government, the open pit copper-gold mine would be built 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake. The mine was rejected in 2010, but was granted a second review after Taseko Mines Ltd. presented plans to preserve Fish Lake.

The opening session of the hearings begins at 1 p.m. at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, with panel chair Bill Ross giving opening remarks.

Williams Lake Mayor Kerry Cook and acting Williams Lake Indian Band Chief Willie Sellars will both give a formal welcome.

Also on the schedule are the proponent Taseko Mines Ltd, Tsilhqot’in National Government Chiefs and Grand Chief Stewart Philip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs.

Philip Hochstein, Independent Contractors and Business Association of B.C., Gavin Dirom, Association of Mineral Exploration B.C., Cariboo GM manager Lorne Doerkson and Patricia Spenser, Friends of Fish Lake are also scheduled to speak.

The afternoon session runs until 5 p.m and will resume at 7 p.m. with presentations by Daryl Anderson and Craig Benjamin, Amnesty International.

Taseko will be have an opportunity to respond to the information presented on day one, followed by closing remarks by Ross and a short closing ceremony.

Two community events are scheduled for 11 a.m.

A gathering in Boitanio Park with First Nations drumming and leadership and a Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce community barbecue in the parking lot behind the Cariboo Memorial Complex.