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.
(7.) Tailings Storage Containment Facility
The re-located tailings dam raises several concerns.
Natural drainage off the south toe of the dam would empty directly into Beece Creek, just upstream from major salmon spawning beds of the Taseko system.
Beece Creek is also the most important Bull Trout rearing tributary of the Taseko drainage. Taseko proposes to control seepage contamination by dewatering wells and containment ponds.
Considering this area is a swampy wetland, how will it be possible to prevent some sulphide and heavy metal migration into the immediate drainage?
At the end of mine life, Taseko would leave behind a tailings dam 500 or more feet high with a natural spillway into whatever remains of Fish Lake and subsequently the water-filled pit.
How would all that contaminated water be confined to the escarpment when its natural drainage has historically been directly into the Taseko River system?
(8.) Water Treatment
There is no mention in the Environmental Impact Study of the need for water treatment as the mine progresses.
Historically mines of this type end up with a water surplus as they excavate the aquifer.
This water would end up in the Taseko drainage and consequently it must meet environmental standards.
This is an important and costly issue considering the geology of the proposed mine and surrounding area.
This oversight must be addressed, as it will have a major impact both environmentally and economically.
[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]