The provincial government of British Columbia has issued Taseko Mines with a multiyear Notice of Work (NOW) permit that will allow the base metals producer to undertake a site investigation program at the New Prosperity gold/copper mine.
The mine project, which has been nixed twice by the federal government, has drawn the ire of First Nations impacted by the project, calling the move “shocking” and vowing to challenge the British Columbia-issued permits in court.
“This is a typical move by the Liberal government. They are a dead political party trying to mount a dead horse and hoping to ride it to a comeback. One thing we are demonstrating as Tsilhqot’in is that, if you threaten us, our homes, our culture – that’s when you’ll see our real strength,” Tsilhqot’in national government tribal chair and Tl’etinqox chief Joe Alphonse said in a press release.
He argued that the project area was a “very special place” for his people. “For British Columbia to authorise more drilling and destruction for a project that has been rejected and can’t even be built – this is the type of attitude we have had to fight for over 150 years and counting. We won’t stand down now,” he added.
“We are in shock. In the midst of British Columbia’s worst crisis in decades, while our elders and children are threatened by wildfire, [the province] decides to add insult to injury by granting these permits,” stated Xeni Gwet’in #First Nation chief and vice-chair of the Tsilhqot’in national government Roger William.
“British Columbia disregarded the immense record showing the importance of this area for our culture and approved extensive ground disturbance for a mine that cannot lawfully be built.”