Xeni Gwet’in Enterprises says its activities at the proposed New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine site are about reclamation and deactivation.
The Tribune contacted Xeni Gwet’in Enterprises after Taseko Mines Ltd. vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison told Williams Lake City Council the group was actively involved at the proposed mine site.
“We’ve been doing clean up behind the exploration work that was done last winter,” Xeni Gwet’in Enterprises manager Michael Lares said. “We’re removing all the downed timber from the access trails cut into the Fish Lake area from the 2012 exploration effort and utilizing the timber as a resource. We’re providing reclamation, per the required guidelines, after exploration and we’re deactivating the roads.”
Lares wanted to clarify that they aren’t doing any drilling or exploration work.
“This is a Tsilhqot’in National Government effort and Xeni Gwet’in Enterprises is managing the project. It’s our division at the band that handles heavy equipment,” he said.
Taseko Mines Ltd. vice president of corporate affairs Brian Battison said the drilling work carried about by Taseko at the site involved exploration to determine the geotechnical characteristics of the area for a report on the mine to submit with its Environmental Impact Statement.
“I think Xeni Gwet’in Enterprises was there every day monitoring the program,” Battison added.
Xeni Gwet’in chief Marilyn Baptiste confirmed members of her community travelled into the site on snowshoes in March and April to observe the exploration work.
“Taseko’s drilling was done to gather required information for the environmental assessment panel,” she said. “We were advised that the EA required some information, so the drilling program was downsized quite a bit, not to our satisfaction, but it was downsized quite a bit.”