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. is seeking an injunction after the Tsilhqot’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.

Members of the Tsilqot’in Nation had set up a peaceful protest camp at the site the evening before.

Finn Conradsen, mine project manager for Taseko met the protesters later that morning and verified with Chief Joe Alphonse, Tshilqot’in National Government tribal chair, that Taseko would not be permitted to bring equipment through.

Read more: Tsilhqot’in Nation stops Taseko Mines exploratory drilling

The protest camp was taken down by Tuesday evening.

Confirming the company is seeking an injunction, vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison told the Tribune a sign has been posted at the corner of Highway 20 and the Farwell Canyon Road.

It notifies the public that Taseko will apply for an injunction in order to permit the company’s employees, contractors and agents to access the areas covered by the notice of work permit issued by the provincial government.

Company lawyers are expected to appear in court on Friday, July 5 to set a hearing date for the injunction application.

“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 instructedour 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

Youth Discover the Trades coming up in February for SD27 students

Around 80 Grade 7 students will be getting hands-on trade experience at TRU

Brock Hoyer settles for fifth place in Snow BikeCross at X Games

The lakecity athlete rode hard but was fouled up by loose snow in the third lap

World Religion Day an inclusive, well-attended offering

“It was fabulous,” he said. “Last year’s turnout was decent. But this year was quite wonderful.”

New CCPL President Anton Dounts looks to offer support

It’s Literacy Week in Williams Lake and it marks the first one Anton Dounts has headed

Lakecity CAO and CFO demand RCMP billing changes, save Williams Lake $750K to $1 million

It’s been a matter of going over every invoice line by line, CAO said

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

People knowingly take fentanyl so make policy changes to reduce harm: B.C. study

Dr. Jane Buxton, an epidemiologist at the centre, says drug users need more resources,

‘My heart is going to bleed’: Bodies brought back to Canada following Iran plane crash

Remains of Sahar Haghjoo, 37, and her eight-year-old daughter, Elsa Jadidi, were identified last weekend

BCLC opens novelty bet on Harry and Meghan moving to the west coast

Meanwhile, real estate agency points to four possible homes for the family

Coastal GasLink work camp in Vanderhoof gets approved by the ALC

The work camp behind the Vanderhoof airport was first rejected by the commission in October last year

Canada slips in global corruption ranking in aftermath of SNC-Lavalin scandal

The country obtained a score of 77, which places it at the top in the Americas

Wuhan bans cars, Hong Kong closes schools as coronavirus spreads

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said her government will raise its response level to emergency, highest one

B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Most Read