Federal Court halts Red Chris Mine - MiningWatch Canada wins precedent-setting decision

    VANCOUVER, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - Following a Federal Court decision on
September 25, 2007, the future of the proposed Red Chris Mine - a huge
acid-generating mine proposed for northwestern British Columbia - has been put
in doubt.
    The precedent-setting decision upholds the fundamental right of Canadians
to be consulted during the environmental assessment of large mines on the
comprehensive study list. The Court found that the Canadian Environmental
Assessment Act enshrined this right when it was amended in October 2003.
    Representing MiningWatch Canada, Ecojustice lawyers (formerly Sierra
Legal) filed the lawsuit in June 2006.
    In his decision, Mr. Justice Luc Martineau condemns the federal
Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and Natural Resources Canada for
unlawfully evading a comprehensive study environmental assessment of the Red
Chris Mine, and unlawfully preventing the public from participating in the
federal assessment. The decision orders that the Red Chris Mine be denied any
federal permits on the basis of the unlawful environmental assessment.
    In his reasons, Mr. Justice Martineau said that DFO's evasion of a
Comprehensive Study had "all the characteristics of a capricious and arbitrary
decision which was taken for an improper purpose."
    The proposed Red Chris Copper-Gold Mine would turn the headwaters of
three creeks in northern BC into a tailings dump, destroying fish habitat and
risking contamination of the Stikine watershed in northwestern BC. The mine
will have two huge open pits and will leave behind approximately 183 million
tonnes of toxic tailings and 307 million tonnes of waste rock, which will
likely need to be treated for acid mine drainage for over 200 years.
    The mine is proposed to be built in the Klappan area of Tahltan
traditional territory, in an area that has come to be known as the Sacred
    For a number of years now, elders and other members of the Iskut First
Nation in northern British Columbia have been trying to prevent development in
a portion of their traditional territory known to them as the Sacred
Headwaters. It is a beautiful area at the headwaters of the Stikine, Nass, and
Skeena Rivers in north-western British Columbia.

    Sierra Legal is now Ecojustice Canada. For more information, please visit
our new website at www.ecojustice.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Joan Kuyek, MiningWatch Canada, (613) 569-3439;
Lara Tessaro, Ecojustice Canada, (604) 685-5618 ext 245

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