WILLIAMS LAKE, BC, July 22, 2013 /CNW/ - The Tsilhqot'in Nation is
preparing today to participate in the Public Hearings for the
controversial "New" Prosperity Mine proposal, and is calling on the
Federal government to listen to community members, scientists and the
public who are condemning this proposal for what it is: an
environmental and cultural disaster that cannot proceed.
The Harper government did the right thing in November 2010 when
then-Minister of Environment, Jim Prentice, rejected the mine proposal
based on what he described as one of the most "scathing" independent
panel reports ever written. The report documented both significant
environmental and cultural impacts, many of which the first Panel noted
could not be mitigated with the alternative option that the company is
now presenting to this new Panel.
"We look forward to the opportunity to share with this new Panel all the
reasons that this new proposal is just as unacceptable as the last one,
regardless of the name or spin thrown out there by this company," said
Chief Roger William of the Xeni Gwet'in First Nation, "Scientists and
First Nations agree that this is a terrible project that cannot be
approved, and we feel strongly that the evidence against this project
will lead this Panel and the Federal Government to do the right thing
and say 'no' once again."
"For myself, family, and community that has grown up with the memory of
the region and its history, it is difficult enough that our Nation is
forced to enter the EA process again, but it is even more difficult
that our people have to witness another ill-conceived proposal that
blatantly threatens our past, present and future vision of our home,"
said Chief Russell Myers Ross of the Yunesit'in Government, "As
Nenqayni - 'people of the earth' - we are intricately bound to protect
Nabas, not just for ourselves, but for everyone who shares the value of
preserving the water, fish, animals and all facets of our culture."
"Only weeks after the rejection in 2010, this company claimed it had a
new plan that would save Teztan Biny," said Chief William, "Well, now
that all the reports are in, we know that this is a completely
unfounded claim that only the company is making. If they had listened
to us, they would know that Teztan Biny is intricately linked to Yanah
Biny (Little Fish Lake), Nabas (the surrounding wetlands) and the
Taseko River, both culturally and ecologically."
Chief Myers Ross: "This company chose not to consult about proceeding
with this new proposal, chose not to listen, chose not to answer the
Panel's direct technical questions, and now we are faced once again
with a proposal that cannot be approved. It's a sad day for our
communities, but we won't back down and certainly won't be silenced by
a company who tried to ban our prayers, our culture, and our values
from this process".
Chief William: "This is being proposed in one of Canada's only areas
where Aboriginal rights have been proven in court. Given that the
previous Panel found significant adverse effects to Tsilhqot'in rights,
regardless of which version of the mine being proposed, this is truly a test case
for all First Nations across the Province and Canada to see if this
government takes its commitment to First Nations seriously, and whether
the revamped environmental assessment will have any credibility going
The proposed mine is so low-grade, at a time when even major mining
companies are suffering extreme setbacks, that it creates serious doubt
that the company can actually deliver the extremely elaborate
environmental mitigations being proposed, like putting Teztan Biny on
'life support' and using unproven and expensive water treatment for the
long-term, perhaps forever. If the mine were approved and built, many of these long-term
liabilities would be borne by future governments, taxpayers, and most
certainly future Tsilhqot'in.
SOURCE: Tsilhqot'in National Government
For further information:
Chief Roger William, Xeni Gwet'in - 250-267-6593
Chief Russell Myers Ross, Yunesit'in - 250-302-2189