Taseko Mines has secured a favorable decision from the Supreme Court of British Columbia, which allows the copper mining company to move ahead with its investigative work at the proposed New Prosperity Project in the Canadian state of British Columbia.
The company’s mining exploration permit granted for the gold-copper project by the British Columbia government was legally challenged by Tsilhqot’in First Nation. In June, the Tsilhqot’in First Nation took up the matter in the Supreme Court of the Canadian state over environmental, water management and other concerns.
The judge, while making his decision, said: “Based on the evidence presented to me, all parties and governments appear to be acting in good faith to advance what they each perceive to be the proper use for the land.
“But unfortunately good faith cannot always prevent disagreement. That is when courts must step in to help the parties move forward.”
According to Tsilhqot’in First Nation, the permit for the New Prosperity Project allows the mining company to undertake an extensive drilling, road construction and excavation program which will help in advancing the mining project.
It further said that the permit gives the right to Taseko Mines to clear 76km of new or modified road and trail, 122 drill holes, 367 excavated test pits and 20km of seismic lines near an area of cultural and spiritual significance for the aboriginal group.
Taseko Mines, on the other hand, said that its investigative work will involve collection of hydrological data and other information needed for the British Columbia Mines Act Permitting process. The copper mining company said that the filed information will also address quite a lot of concerns expressed by the Tsilhqot’in First Nation at the time of the federal environmental assessment.
Taseko Mines president and CEO Russell Hallbauer said: “The Government of British Columbia has the authority to approve resource development work even in the face of aboriginal opposition.
“The Crown’s obligation is to consult with aboriginal people and to accommodate their interests where reasonable to do so. However, there is no duty or obligation to secure aboriginal support for the work being proposed.”
Located in the Cariboo-Chilcotin region of central British Columbia, the New Prosperity Project is expected to employ nearly 600 people and contribute about $1m a day of spending on goods, services and labor.