The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has accepted the project description of Taseko’s New Prosperity mine, completing another step in the process that will eventually determine whether the new mine project will come to fruition.
The acceptance means the agency is now committed to starting an environmental assessment of the project on or before Nov. 7.
“We’re pleased,” said Brian Battison, Taseko’s vice president of corporate affairs. “We were expecting that they would accept our project description.”
According to Battison, the CEAA will now make the determination on what type of review the project requires. The company expects the agency to proceed with a comprehensive study.
The CEAA website notes a comprehensive study can be used for “large projects having the potential for significant adverse environmental effects.” The projects “may also generate public concerns.”
The former Prosperity mine project rejected late last year was subject to a review panel.
Tsilhqot’in National Government tribal chair Joe Alphonse called on the government to halt the project. Alphonse and Xeni Gwet’in chief Marilyn Baptiste asked that Prime Minister Stephen Harper stand by the leadership shown last year when the former project was rejected, showing that while mining is important, it cannot be supported at any cost.
“If the Canadian government wants to reduce its deficit, then cancel this process,” Alphonse says. “It will prevent the frivolous spending of tax money consistently being wasted to review a mine that will not go through.”
Baptiste added: “The Tsilhqot’in Nation is concerned that proceeding further with this rebid will detract from efforts to pursue more sustainable developments in the region, the sustainable developments that B.C. Mines Minister Rich Coleman earlier this year said was his new priority.”
Following the November deadline and the choice of review stream for the project, Battison says a decision could be expected within 365 days. The project description and executive summary can be viewed at www.newprosperityproject.ca.