Tsilhqot’in Chiefs Roy Stump, ?Esdilagh, left, Joe Alphonse, Tl’etinqox and TNG tribal chair and Russell Myers Ross, Yunesit’in and TNG vice tribal chair, at the peaceful protest held Tuesday, July 3, at the entrance to the Farwell Canyon Road at Highway 20, 57 km west of Williams Lake. The Tsilhqot’in Nation set up the camp the evening before to prevent Taseko Mines Ltd. from hauling equipment to Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) area to begin exploratory drilling for its proposed New Prosperity Mine project. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Taseko Mines pursues court injunction against B.C. First Nation for exploratory drilling

Tsilhqot’in Nation held a peaceful protest and stopped Taseko contractors from hauling equipment west of Williams Lake

Taseko Mines Ltd. and the Tsilhqot’in Nation are heading back to court.

On Friday, July 5, Taseko Mines Ltd. filed a notice of civil claim and an application for an injunction after the Tshilqot’in Nation blocked the company’s contractors from hauling equipment to do exploratory drilling for its proposed New Prosperity Mine project 185 km southwest of Williams Lake.

On Tuesday, July 2, a flatbed truck with equipment was turned away at around 6 a.m. from travelling on the Farwell Canyon Road off Highway 20.

The hearing date is set for Tuesday, July 16.

Additionally, the Tsilhqot’in National Government has given notice it will renew the Notice of Civil Claim originally filed in 2017, for a full trial of the issues, to establish that the drilling program is an unjustified infringement of proven Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal rights, noted Graham Gillies with TNG communications on Monday.

TNG also gave notice that it will be seeking its own injunction prohibiting TML from proceeding with the work until this rights infringement action is heard and determined, Gillies added, noting this injunction hearing is expected to be set down for the last week of July.

Taseko vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison told the Tribune when access to a public road has been illegally blocked, one of the potential solutions is to seek an injunction from the Supreme Court of British Columbia,” Battison said. “Today we have instructed our legal counsel to apply for an injunction to permit us to access our property so the work can be done.”

Speaking from his home at Tl’etinqox First Nation Friday, Chief Alphonse said the Tsilhqot’in will challenge the injunction in court.

“It’s not the first time we’re going to court against Taseko,” he added. “It’s part of the process.”

Alphonse said it will be “virtually” impossible for the mine to ever go through so the exploratory drilling should not happen.

“The reality is if you go through the whole government process, that it’s near impossible for this mine to come to fruition so why are we doing the project?” He said.

“People think the mine has been approved — it has not. There are so many obstacles they would have to go through, even if the Tsilhqot’in were to support them, which we don’t. In the meantime they plan on wreaking havoc in an area that is sensitive to the Tsilhqot’in.”

Five years ago the Tsilhqot’in won an historical case in the Supreme Court of Canada that proved they had rights and title.

“What does having Aboriginal rights and title mean if you cannot have any level of jurisdiction over your territory?” Alphonse said.

“We have to protect our interests. A company like Taseko has to realize this mine will never be. They talk about the amount of financial resources they have spent on this, well sooner or later they are going to have cut their losses. We are not changing our position after 25 years.”

Read more: New agreements reached on Tsilhqot’in title lands



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Displaced Interior forestry workers access support programs

Hundreds have signed up for pension bridging said consultant Terry Tate

Trail cleanup begins at Scout Island Nature Centre after flood waters recede in Williams Lake

More cleanup work will continue in the coming weeks and months as water levels continue to go down

It’s a go: Williams Lake Garden Club prepares for summer garden tour

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, some measures are in place for this year’s garden tour

B.C. First Nation-owned solar farm connected to the grid

Construction was completed by the Tsilhqot’in Nation last year

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping the Williams Lake Tribune continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe comapaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Historic Hat Creek finds novel way to keep part of site open

VIP shopping experience offers people private visit to site’s gift shop

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Most Read