After the second day of two week-long B.C. Supreme Court cases involving the proposed Prosperity mine, Taseko’s vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison said what is at stake goes beyond the company and could have a broad provincial context.
Taskeo has filed an injunction against individuals alleged to have impeded work at the mine site and is seeking an order to restrain them and others from unlawfully interfering with the company’s test pitting and drilling work that was approved by the B.C. government in September. At the same time the TNG has launched a court case against exploration approvals for the mine — alleging that Crown officials breached their duties to consult and accommodate the Tsilhqot’in in regards to the government granting the approvals, and is seeking an injunction to stop Taseko from doing any work until after a judicial review is heard.
“Anybody can file a judiciary review against anyone having received permits authorized by the government, and if an injunction were granted then no work granted under those permits could be completed until that judiciary review is heard,” Battison says, suggesting it could take many months if not a year or longer for the case to be settled.
That would represent a serious problem for all resource developers in the province, he added.
Battison said Taseko’s lawyers have presented the company’s arguments but it’s hard to tell what arguments will grab the judge’s attention and what are valid arguments to make.
“There is some debate going back and forth on what is really the scope of the issue here. Some argue that it’s a large scope and others argue that no, this is just about permits and whether they are valid and should stand as valid until some other decisions comes along, if that other decision comes along,” he said.
A Ministry of Energy and Mines spokesperson wouldn’t comment on cases that are in the courts or respond to Battison’s comments about the case having wider implications.