“Surrounding a sacred lake with a massive open pit, one of Canada’s largest tailings dams, and a giant waste rock pile, and then putting it at risk of contamination from toxic tailings discharge is not our definition of saving anything,” says Tsilhqot’in National Government Tribal Chair Chief Joe Alphonse. “We saw in the last environmental assessment how far the company’s predictions were from reality. The company said there would be no significant impacts. But an independent federal panel described a whole range of massive cultural and environmental impacts. This company has no credibility with us.”
Xeni Gwet’in Chief Marilyn Baptiste said: “This version of the mine has already been deemed a greater environmental risk by the independent panel in 2010, and by the company’s own statements in the last review”.
Chief Baptise also noted that the extra $300 million the company is allocating to the project is $37 million less than it previously stated would be needed for this alternative mine plan. “New” Prosperity also does not appear to involve new mitigation measures beyond those considered in the 2010 review, when the federal panel rejected this alternative design for the mine because of “greater environmental risk” and the likely contamination of Teztan Biny in any event.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation remains concerned that the proposal threatens the Fraser River’s last strong and consistent salmon run and puts Lower Taseko Lake at risk of direct discharge of tailings into its tributaries.