WILLIAMS LAKE, BC, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Taseko Mine's Limited is playing
costly and dangerous games with First Nations and all British
Columbians in its cynical attempt to revive its so-called Prosperity
mine, the Tsilhqot'in National Government said today.
"This latest move would be laughable, were the issue not so serious,"
said TNG Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse. "Enough is enough. It is time
to put an end to this company wasting everybody's time and resources on
a project that most now realize is a dead issue."
"This latest move by the company leaves little doubt now that its plan
all along was to get the cheapest project it could. Now it is
desperately trying to find any way it can to revive this project
regardless of its impact on the environment and our First Nations
rights," Chief Alphonse said.
"We commend the federal government for seeing through the company's
claim and rejecting its first plan - which the company was told for 17
years was not acceptable - and we also commend Prime Minister Stephen
Harper for standing firm on that decision this week," said TNG Xeni
Gwet'in First Nation Chief Marilyn Baptiste.
"Hopefully the federal government, the soon-to-be-elected new provincial
premier, and the public will quickly make it clear to Taseko Mines Ltd
that this nonsense must end," said Chief Baptiste.
The latest move by Taseko is so cynical and fatally flawed that that it
is hard to see how anyone can take it seriously, Chief Baptiste said.
The company has not consulted with First Nations or the public and it
has kept the details secret. It continues to pretend that there is only
one issue - the protection of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) - that needs to
be addressed, when the CEAA review panel report and the federal
government's own conclusions made it clear there was numerous and
"scathing" problems with the project.
"It seems to think it can insult governments and the public by treating
us all as fools with short memories," said Chief Baptiste.
"This company categorically insisted that - even with soaring gold and
copper prices - its first proposal was the only economically viable
one. It also categorically insisted that any other options for the
project would be even more devastating to the environment and First
Nations rights," said Chief Alphonse.
"Yet within weeks of its proposal being rejected last November 2, it
claimed that it could now suddenly afford to go with an alternative
that saved Fish Lake, and it is now hoping that everyone will forget
that both it and the CEAA review panel report made it clear last year
that any alternative to the original plan would be an even bigger
Taseko's new move is costly because it will force governments to spend
tax dollars dealing with a clearly unacceptable bid, and could even see
the province continue to pump tax dollars into promoting this project
on Taseko's behalf.
It will also force First Nations, who have been on the front line of
defending the land against this project, to continue to spend scarce
resources that would be better spent on pursuing genuine and
One also has to wonder how excited investors are about the company
adding to the $100 million it has already wasted pursuing this doomed
project over the last 17 years.
The rebid is dangerous because it seeks to avoid having another full
review of the project and have governments accept the new plan as
addressing all concerns. If it were to succeed, it would mean the
strong federal EA process would be taken over by the weak and industry
biased provincial process.
In effect, the company is seeking to undermine the entire process and
set a precedent that will give companies a way to proceed with bad
projects through the back door.
The new bid also diverts attention away from the real issues facing
mining in BC, and the need to reform the mining system to ensure that
the industry and first Nation and other governments can work together
to identify and pursue good mining projects.
"The company and supporters such as provincial Mines Minster Randy Hawes
and Liberal Leadership Candidate's Christy Clark and Kevin Falcon
continue to act as if money is the only issue here." said Chief
"We are particularly offended that Mr. Hawes has once again implied we
are holding out for money and that he will try to buy our support with
benefit agreements," said Chief Baptiste.
"He knows full well that we will never accept this project and that for
us that this is not about money. We are not willing to sell out the
land, the water and our rights, future generations and way of life at
any price. Period."
SOURCE Tsilhqot'in National Government
For further information:
Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chair, TNG: 250.305.8282 or 250.394.4212
Chief Marilyn Baptiste: 250.267.1401 or 250.394.7023