Taseko floats second plan for B.C. site – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 19, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.  pkoven@nationalpost.com 

TORONTO  – The economic benefits appear to be massive. Now the main question is whether the federal government will approve it this time.

Nearly a year after Ottawa rejected Taseko Mines Ltd.’s Prosperity project in central British Columbia, the company is highlighting a third-party economic study that shows the proposed mine would increase real gross domestic product in Canada by $11-billion over the next two decades, while creating an estimated 71,000 jobs.

The study, prepared by the Centre for Spatial Economics, also suggests government revenue would rise by $9.8-billion over the life of the mine, and the B.C. population would grow by an estimated 5,400.

“It just shows you the kind of economic impact one mine can have. It’s unreal,” Taseko chief executive Russell Hallbauer said. Prosperity, 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, is already one of the most controversial mining projects in Canadian history, well before any shovel has been put into the ground.

The B.C. government approved the proposed coppergold mine, seeing it as a cornerstone in a new era of mine construction in the province. But then Ottawa rejected it last November on environmental grounds, citing Taseko’s plan to drain a 111-hectare body of water called Fish Lake.

That triggered a controversy over how the two governments could come to different conclusions when given the same information. There was even a probe over a potential leak of Ottawa’s decision, though that went nowhere.

Taseko had to go back to the drawing board. In June of this year, the Vancouver-based company submitted a new mine plan for Prosperity (now dubbed New Prosperity) that would save Fish Lake at a cost of about $300-million.

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