The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society (CCCS) would like to give its environmental perspective on Taseko Mines’ New Prosperity mine proposal. The 10 concerns are broken down into five parts in order to meet Tribune guidelines for letter length.
The following points are brought forward by Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society director Bill Lloyd, and cover some of our concerns.
(1.) Environmental Review Process
This proposed mine has already failed an exhaustive review process costing the taxpayers of this province millions of dollars. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Authority’s Panel examined input from many stakeholder groups, the public and the company, and has ruled that the environmental impact would be too great for the mine to be approved.
It also judged that an alternate plan, which forms the basis of the current “New Prosperity” proposal, presents an even greater environmental threat.
Taseko Mines Ltd. has submitted two Environmental Impact Statements in support of “New Prosperity.” The most recent was returned to them with a 77-page list of issues that had not been adequately addressed.
(2.) Ultimate Destruction of Fish Lake.
Despite Taseko’s claims, the ultimate destruction of Fish Lake is inevitable if the mine is allowed to go ahead.
The planned tailings pond would destroy most of the lake’s feeder streams and 80 per cent of the lake’s fish spawning habitat.
As the pit deepens and expands toward Fish Lake, water containment would become more and more difficult.
If the mine did succeed in reaching a 20-year point with Fish Lake still intact. What would we be left with?
A water body whose natural in and out flows have been cut off for 20 years, completely surrounded by a 30-story tailings dam, contaminated waste dumps and a 1.4-kilometre pit.
Additionally a portion of the existing ore body will still lie under Fish Lake itself.
If, as seems probable, Taseko applied to expand operations, the pit itself would necessarily encroach on the lake and destroy it.
[References: E. I. S. figures, 2.2.4-5, 126.96.36.199.1, 188.8.131.52.-4, 2.8.2-5, R.g. McCandless E.I.S. submission11/8 /12]