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 CCCS director Bill Lloyd, and cover some of our concerns.
(3.) Over-all Footprint of Prosperity Mine on the Chilcotin
This huge project in one of the last untouched and most pristine watersheds in British Columbia would leave a footprint similar to the Highland Valley. The mine and tailings pond as laid out in the current Environmental Impact Statement would be bordered to the west by the Taseko River and to the south by Beece Creek and Big Onion Lake.
However, Taseko’s own projections estimate it would take 33 years to extract the total orebody.
Expansion would obviously magnify the impact on the natural drainage systems.
Post-operations seepage and acid rock drainage contamination of the entire Taseko River watershed, which eventually reaches the Fraser River, would have drastic consequences.
(4.) Deficiency of Water for Mine Start-up
Taseko Mines Ltd. maintains that surface water would be adequate for mine start-up. This assertion is highly questionable. It would take huge volumes of water to start the dam systems and initiate the concentration process.
Other than the existing slow-flowing and seasonally-variable inflows, the only apparent water sources would be the Taseko River and Fish Lake.
Would this mean a pumping station in the river and therefore an end to the ‘closed’ system proposed for Fish Lake? Or would the water level in Fish Lake have to be drastically lowered?
[References: E. I. S. figures, 2.2.4-5, 184.108.40.206.1, 220.127.116.11.-4, 2.8.2-5, R.g. McCandless E.I.S. submission11/8 /12]