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.
(5.) Major Fault Intersecting Proposed Pit
The orebody is bisected by a major east-west fault zone. This fault runs through the orebody and intersects the Taseko River. The natural water course (Fish Creek) draining the entire mining and tailings dam geography follows this fault zone to the Taseko River.
The company proposes to eliminate this natural water flow but it would be impossible to seal such a giant underground crack and prevent sulphide and heavy metal contamination along the fractured fault structure. Once the ore is dug out, the resulting pit is supposed to be filled with water. How is it possible to keep water in a pit that has a fault running through it?
The preceding are just a very few of the issues, next week we will cover five more issues that need to be addressed extensively. These significant environmental issues must be assessed on facts and proper science, not politics.
(6.) Threat to Sockeye and Chinook salmon.
The most important spawning beds in the Taseko system are near the confluence of Beece Creek and the Taseko River, directly below the proposed mine site. The inevitable tailings dam seepage or acid rock drainage off the escarpment directly above these spawning beds would have drastic consequences for the wild salmon runs. Contamination would directly impact salmon runs in the Chilko Lake system, which is the healthiest remaining in the entire Fraser River system. This population is uniquely adapted to extreme conditions, which could be crucial to surviving climate change.
[References: E. I. S. figures, 2.2.4-5, 188.8.131.52.1, 184.108.40.206.-4, 2.8.2-5, R.g. McCandless E.I.S. submission11/8 /12]