Taseko Mines Limited (TML) says the challenges are over for it to undertake geotechnical work at the company’s proposed New Prosperity gold-copper project near Williams Lake.
An application by the Tsilhqot’in Nation to appeal an earlier judgment by the BC Supreme Court and by the BC Court of Appeal was dismissed Thursday by the Supreme Court of Canada.
“The news here is that the provincial government can issue permits for mining activity in British Columbia, and if the government does their consultation work carefully and takes all interests into consideration those permits can withstand even the most vigorous of legal challenges by the most determined of opponents to that work taking place,” said Brian Battison, TML Vice President of Corporate Affairs.
“So that’s the news here and I’m sure that the provincial government is pleased with the outcome.”
The exploratory drilling permit authorizes an extensive drilling, road building, and excavation program. It authorizes TML to clear 76 kilometers of new or modified road and trail, 122 drill holes, 367 excavated test pits, and 20 kilometers of seismic lines near Tez^tan Biny (Fish Lake) and Nabas, an area that the Tsilhqot’in say is of profound cultural and spiritual significance for them.
“The legal challenges are certainly over for that aspect of the project, for that work to taking place and our intention is now to go out and do that work and gather that information,” Battison said.
“It’s not going to proceed in the next ten days but it’s going to proceed soon after that. It’s a requirement of our permit that we give various parties that are interested in that work taking place that they get notification, so that notification has gone out yesterday.”
Battison said the work that will be dependent on the weather will take a number of months over the summer and winter seasons to complete.
“The nature of the work here is that we just need to cut some trails so we can get some very light equipment in to drill some three inch holes into various locations where we propose to put different features of the mine like where would we put the mill building, where would we put the center line of the dam construction. We’re gathering geotechnical work for those particular features,” he said.
“It’s very similar to work that has gone on at that site over many years, in fact, several decades.”
Battison added that the information collected will help inform B.C.’s Mines Act Permitting Process.
“Those authorizations from the federal government remain outstanding,” he said.
“This information that we gather would be helpful in securing those operations, so the work that we’re doing out there we’re not constructing the mine; we’re far from that. This is simply a mineral exploration type program to gather information so those authorizations remain yet to be acquired.”