Controversial Prosperity mine proposal gets second chance – by Canadian Press (Globe and Mail – November 7, 2011)

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VANCOUVER— The Canadian Press – A controversial proposal for a massive copper and gold mine in British Columbia will get another chance to become reality after Canada’s Environmental Assessment Agency agreed to a second review of the mine.

Taseko Mine’s original proposal failed the federal government’s first environment review, but the company has launched what it’s calling its New Prosperity proposal.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent instructed the agency to set up a process that will review the environmental concerns raised in the past assessment and consider the mining company’s changes.

With higher, longer-term prices for copper and gold, Taseko said it would spend an extra $300-million on the project to address the main concerns of the last environmental rejection, including the preservation of Fish Lake.

Several Interior native groups opposed the project because the original mine proposal would see the destruction of the lake, which they consider culturally significant.

Tsilhqot’in First Nation Chief Joe Alphonse said he’s “disappointed and deflated” by the decision to review the mine again.

He said natives all around the proposed site have concerns about water quality, possible damage to salmon runs and lost archeological opportunities as the land is buried by 720 million tonnes of mine waste.

“The time is not right, the technology is not right,” Mr. Alphonse said. “The environmental cost is just too high. We’re not willing to go that route.”

A spokesman for the mining company said Taseko is pleased with the second chance.

“This is an important project both for Canada and the province. It will mean thousands of jobs,” said Brian Battison, a Taseko spokesman.

“It’s important that everybody uses their best efforts to make this opportunity a reality and we’re certainly doing that.”

The mine site, southwest of Williams Lake in B.C.’s Cariboo region, is one of the largest undeveloped gold and copper deposits in Canada.

Taseko said it is prepared to invest more than $1-billion for estimated proven or probable reserves of more than one million tonnes of copper and 7.7 million gold ounces.

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