Taseko pursues legal avenue against panel

Taseko announced Monday it is filing a judicial review of the environmental assessment panel's report of its New Prosperity project.

Taseko announced Monday it is filing an application for a federal judicial review, seeking to set aside certain findings of a review panel report relating to the company’s New Prosperity Gold-Copper Project environmental assessment.

“It’s not a law suit, nobody is suing anybody, it’s a matter that’s in the federal court,” said Brian Battison, Taseko vice-president of corporate affairs. “It is a reflective exercise in that it looks back at what the panel process did, what the panel heard, what evidence was presented and what the panel did with that evidence.”

Taseko continues to assert there was a mistake made by Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) to arrive at “flawed” findings.

The company is asking the federal court to declare certain panel findings are invalid and should be quashed or set aside and to rule the panel failed to observe principles of procedural fairness in conducting the public hearing process, he added.

In a press release, Taseko president and CEO Russell Hallbauer said Taseko had no choice but to file the application in order to comply with a 30-day time limit.

“The federal government should allow the project to proceed to the next stage of detailed permit-level examination and if so the judicial review would not need to proceed,” Hallbauer said.

Battison said in its judicial review application, Taseko alleges the panel allowed repeated submission of written and oral expert evidence in a manner that was unfair and inconsistent with directions from the panel and violated the panel’s hearing procedures.

CEAA manager of communications Lucille Jamault confirmed the Taseko application, but said the government cannot comment on matters currently before the courts.