After several years of battling in court over a proposed gold-copper mine in B.C.’s Interior west of Williams Lake, the Tsilhqot’in National Government and Taseko Mines Ltd. have agreed to pause litigation efforts and meet in person.
Initiated by the provincial government, the two sides will have a year to talk face to face, said Xeni Gwet’in Chief Jimmy Lulua.
“We agreed not to share details about the meetings,” Lulua told the Tribune Monday. “It’s complex because our decision against the mine has not changed, but at the end of the day we are spending lots of money on litigation. Maybe we can try talking instead.”
When, where and how the meetings will unfold, Lulua said he did not know.
In a note on its website, Taseko Mines Ltd. chief executive officer and director Russell Hallbauer noted the intent of the dialogue is to try and obtain a long-term solution to the conflict and the parties have agreed to a standstill on certain outstanding litigation and regulatory matters which relate to Taseko’s tenures and the area in the vicinity of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake).
The company’s vice-president of corporate affairs, Brian Battison, said the company had nothing to add to the online statement at this time.
Taseko’s Prosperity and subsequent New-Prosperity projects were rejected by two separate federal environmental assessments.
When Taseko attempted to carry out exploratory work permitted by the provincial government at the site in July 2019, Tsilhqot’in Nation representatives blocked entry of equipment with a peaceful protest.