Taseko Mines Ltd. has formally submitted its Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the New Prosperity gold-copper project to the three-member review panel established for the federal environmental assessment of the project.
The EIS document, which represents the core of material to be considered by the review panel, details every aspect of the company’s plans to manage and minimize environmental impacts during the construction, operation, and closure of the proposed $1.1 billion mine, which would take two years to build and would operate for 20 years.
“The final steps in the federal environmental assessment process — an examination of those components of the project that have changed or that are new from the previous project proposal — can now be undertaken,” said Russell Hallbauer, president and CEO of Taseko, in a news release. “We are committed to the responsible development of New Prosperity and will invest an additional $300 million to ensure the protection of Fish Lake and address concerns raised by the previous federal review panel in 2010.
“We are confident that the New Prosperity EIS represents a mine development plan that delivers considerable economic value to Canadians, while employing proven industry-leading engineering and environmental management techniques for which the British Columbia mining industry has become world-renowned.”
Taseko Mines has prepared a water management video and an executive summary, both of which are available at newprosperityproject.ca
Minister of the Environment Peter Kent referred the New Prosperity project to a federal review panel in November 2011. At that time, Kent instructed the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to ensure that information obtained during the previous environmental assessment for the original Prosperity project is used to the fullest extent possible and to ensure a timely decision.
In turn, the EIS focuses principally on new information surrounding the project, with a particular emphasis on the $300 million preservation of Fish Lake and the immediately surrounding area. The water management video illustrates this plan.
The news release says New Prosperity represents a $1.1 billion investment, is expected to increase federal government revenues by $4.3 billion and provincial revenues by $5.5 billion, and will add 57,000 person years of employment to the economy.
Under its terms of reference, the review panel is to undertake its mandate in four stages:
• Review the information, submissions and testimony generated as part of the 2009/2010 environmental assessment, including the 2009 EIS and the previous panel’s report (to occur during the period when Taseko is preparing its EIS);
• Review the new EIS (now submitted by Taseko);
• Conduct public hearings; and
• Prepare and submit a report to the minister of the environment.