A federal judge has awarded costs to the Tsilhqot’in (TNG) and the federal government after dismissing two applications for judicial review by Taseko Mines on its’ proposed open-pit gold and copper mine 125 km southwest of Williams Lake.
Justice Michael Phelan issued his decision on the matter Tuesday.
The application for a review of a 2013 Panel Report that was made pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act centered on findings in the Report with respect to water seepage and impact on water quality in Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) and the surrounding area.
The key dispute was the Panel’s conclusion that toxic water seepage would be greater than
Taseko estimated which the company claims ultimately led to decisions not approving New Prosperity.
“My view, the Panel’s determination (for which deference is owed) that Taseko had underestimated the volume of tailings pore water seepage leaving the TSF, was reasonable,” said Phelan.
He adds that the Panel’s conclusion that the concentration of water quality variables in Fish Lake (Teztan Biny) and Wasp Lake would likely be a significant adverse environmental effect was also
“Furthermore, the water quality findings were supported by additional evidence, including Taseko’s own admission that the water quality would not be in line with guidelines for the protection of aquatic life,” he said.
Taseko according to Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Brian Battison is reviewing and considering the decision.
The first application for judicial review was filed on November 29, 2013, with the second on March 26, 2014.
“From the Wilderness Committee’s point of view we think that this is a very good outcome indeed,” said Joe Foy, National Campaign Director, Executive Team Member.
Although the TNG was not available for comment, the Yunesit’in Government Office called the decision Wednesday morning worth celebrating.
The New Prosperity project was rejected by the federal government in February 2014 with the original Prosperity project also rejected in 2010.