A delegation of Tsilhqot’in chiefs and two non-First Nations groups from the Cariboo were in Ottawa this past week to speak for the many in the Cariboo who do not want the proposed New Prosperity Gold-Copper Project, says Friends of Fish Lake (FOFL) spokesperson Barbara Hooper.
Tsilhqot’in Tribal chair Joe Alphonse and Chief Roger William from Xeni Gwet’in will be joined by the Tsilhqot’in National Government’s mining, gas and oil manager J.P. Laplante, Sage Birchwater of the Fish Lake Alliance based in Williams Lake and Patricia Spencer of FOFL based near 100 Mile House.
The group met with Oshawa, Ont. Conservative MP Dr. Colin Carrie, parliamentary secretary to Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, on Feb. 13. They also met with NDP MPs Nathan Cullen and Finn Donnelly, as well as Liberal Party representatives on Feb. 11.
The FOFL is of the view that Taseko Mines Ltd. has made certain assertions through the media that are intended to distract the public from the fact that the company has received a second bad report from the independent environmental review panel, Hooper says on behalf of the local group.
“The report concluded that the proposed mine would result in several significant adverse effects, including those to water quality in Fish Lake, fish and fish habitat in Fish Lake, and immitigable adverse impacts to the Tsilhqot’in people,” she explains.
“Based on the evidence, the Panel finds it is unable to accept Taseko’s conclusion that the water treatment options proposed would effectively mitigate the adverse effects of the project on Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) water quality.” (Report of the Federal Review Panel New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine Project Report – October 2013, Page 87.)
The FOFL is also concerned about the negative impacts the project would have on First Nations, says Hooper.
“First Nations leadership from both the Tsilhqot’in and Secwepemc were unanimous in their rejection of the mine proposal. The fact that the proponent has for years continued to attempt to push this project ahead despite opposition from First Nations demonstrates the company’s profound lack of respect for the Tsilhqot’in people, the First Nation most affected by the mine.”