Taseko responds to CEAA seepage claims

Taseko Mines Ltd. said it is disappointed its latest submission to the CEAA has not been made public on the agency’s website.

Taseko Mines Ltd. said it is disappointed its latest submission to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has not been made public on the agency’s website.

“CEAA wrote and asked us to provide specific information with respect to our assertions the panel relied on the wrong modelling to assess the environmental impacts of the New Prosperity Mine,” explained Brian Battison, Taseko’s vice-president of corporate affairs.

“They put the request on the CEAA website, but have not posted our response.”

Taseko provided the information as requested promptly by Nov. 15, and when they asked CEAA if it was going to be posted on the website, they were told no, Battison said.

In an e-mailed response, CEAA said after Taseko made assertions regarding the New Prosperity Review Panel report in a letter to the Minister of the Environment dated Nov. 4 and in a press release of Nov. 5., the agency wrote to Taseko seeking explicit clarification for the basis of its assertions, based on testimony or documents that were before the panel in the review process.

“No new information was requested from Taseko,” Lucille Jamault, CEAA manager of communications said.

On Nov. 15, the agency received information from Taseko in response to the request for clarification and the information is being currently reviewed by officials, Jamault added.

“The agency does not intend to post the information received from Taseko on the agency’s public registry nor comment on its content while the review of the information is underway. The outcome of the review will inform the next steps in the environmental assessment.”

In an executive summary of the report, the panel said it concluded the New Prosperity Project would result in several significant adverse environmental effects; the key ones being effects on water quality in Fish Lake (Teztan Biny), on fish and fish habitat in Fish Lake, on current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by certain Aboriginal groups, and on their cultural heritage.

Battison, however, said the plan to save Fish Lake is solid.

“It was developed by internationally-renowned experts in the field who have been operating mines in Canada, including Mount Polley and Mount Milligan,” he said.

“That design at Mount Milligan won an award of merit from the consulting engineers of B.C. and is held up by the province of British Columbia as best practices.”

“The design has been proven in the field and that’s why it was so stunning the panel’s findings were what they were,” Battison said.

Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012, the process that occurs from the release of a panel report up to the issuance of a decision statement by the federal Minister of the Environment, is set out in sections 52 to 54 of the CEAA 2012, Jamault explained.

The agency is reviewing the panel report that was released on Oct. 31 and will not comment on the panel report at this time.

The minister will make a decision about the project in accordance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act 2012 (CEAA 2012).

Should the minister decide the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, the federal cabinet would make a decision on whether or not the significant effects would be justified in the circumstances.

Meanwhile, Taseko is carrying on with business.

Last week, the company announced it has agreed to purchase 11,666,667 common shares of Curis Resources Ltd. at a price of $0.60 per share.

Curis is a publicly traded company with a 100 per cent interest in the Florence Copper Project in Arizona.