Review panel wants more information

A second deficiency statement has been issued to Taseko Mines from the New Prosperity Gold Copper Mine federal review panel.

A second deficiency statement has been issued to Taseko Mines from the New Prosperity Gold Copper Mine federal review panel. A letter from the panel, dated March 28 states that additional information is required from Taseko Mines to fulfill the requirements of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) guidelines.

Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs for Taseko Mines, said that the letter was no surprise.

“This is an expected course for a review panel process; to have just one round of IR (information requests) would have been unusual,” he stated. “Two or more is normal.”

He said that the panel is seeking supplemental information about 11 questions.

“This is typical. If you look at the questions, there are a number of consultants and experts who will be examining them — a variety of experts in a variety of fields,” he said. “We can create a new model based on existing information or get new information based on new tests.”

The letter states that the information requested is necessary for the panel to determine if the EIS is sufficient to proceed to the public hearing.

The panel notes a discrepancy between Taseko and NRCan (Natural Resources of Canada) concerning interpretation of 1994 pump test well data, and has identified two ways for Taseko to resolve the difference. They can either conduct additional pump tests and modeling, or provide new modeling based on 1994 data.

Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah) Chief Roger William has been involved with this issue since the early 1990s, and said he frustrated but not surprised.

“I’ve been dealing with them as a chief and through the TNG and now as chief again, for 20 years. This is inside the title case area going to the Supreme Court this coming November,” he stated. “They’ve shown their true colours and they are wasting their time.”

Taseko is strongly encouraged to consult with NRCan and the Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) if it decides to conduct a field program, and the letter states that the TNG has said that it has never objected to Taseko carrying out site investigations of this sort.

“The letter may state that TNG says it has never objected to our carrying out site investigations,” Battison continued, “but the last time we went out there to do so they certainly did object.”

“We don’t object to their collecting data, but we have to be part of it,” said Tl’etingox-t’in (Anaham) Chief Joe Alphonse. “If they’re going to do that on their own, we don’t accept that. It has to go through government and we will be involved – it’s our way or the highway.”

The panel said that many of Taseko’s responses to their requests for information involve “adaptive management with details to be developed at the regulatory phase,” and that for routine matters, that is appropriate.

It was also stated, however, that when environment effects may result in significant adverse effects, it is essential that more detailed information be provided.

“I’m shocked that a company that claims they spent millions and millions can’t meet the bare minimum to advance their issue forward,” Alphonse said.

“That’s why we decided a long time ago that their words are not truthful words. The best thing they can do is fold their tent and move on.”

For more information about the federal panel review visit www.ceaa.gc.ca