B.C. pitches more mining investment

Mines minister pitches B.C. mining to Toronto investors, but still struggles with aboriginal opposition to major projects

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett (centre)

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett made a pitch to Toronto-based mining companies to invest in B.C. Tuesday, after pressing Ottawa for approval of one of the mine projects being opposed by local aboriginal people.

It was Bennett’s second trip to Ottawa in as many months to seek federal cabinet approval of the New Prosperity copper and gold mine near Williams Lake. Bennett said in an interview from Toronto Tuesday he expects to have an answer by the end of February.

Proponent Taseko Mines has filed a court action to protest the results of the federal environmental review, which the company says did not recognize the new mine design’s use of a lined tailings pond located away from Fish Lake. Bennett wouldn’t comment on the court action, except to say it is not yet resolved.

“We have tailings ponds that are constructed that do not leach into adjacent watercourses, and that’s the central concern here from the federal panel,” Bennett said. “So it’s been our position that the mine could actually be built in such a way as to not contaminate Fish Lake.”

Bennett rang the opening bell at the Toronto stock exchange and had lunch with 50 mining and investment executives, promoting the projects that have proceeded and the B.C. government’s efforts to open more.

Production is to start this year at Red Chris, a $500 million copper and gold mine near Dease Lake expected to employ 750 people. The Roman coal mine near Tumbler Ridge is also set to start up this year, with 375 employees.

The Mount Milligan copper-gold mine northwest of Prince George started production in September, bringing the total operating mines to 19.

Red Chris is proceeding with the co-operation of the Tahltan Nation, which signed a shared decision-making deal with the B.C. government in March of 2013. With the BC Hydro grid being extend to their remote northwest B.C. territory, the Tahltan Central Council was seeing 250 exploration applications a year.

More than 60 coal licence applications were placed under a one-year suspension in December in the Klappan region, after the Tahltan objected to development work for a coal mine in the headwaters of the Nass, Skeena and Stikine Rivers.

Tahltan Central Council president Annita McPhee called the suspension a “temporary reprieve,” the first step to a protection plan for the Klappan.

“We will continue to resist any industrial development there like this Arctos project that threatens to destroy our land and culture,” McPhee said.

Bennett said the suspension is to deliver on an election promise to develop protection for the area, which the Tahltan call the Sacred Headwaters.

The B.C. government paid $20 million to Shell Canada to cancel disputed coalbed gas leases in the region in 2012.

But the government won’t do the same for the only approved coal mine project in the Klappan, Fortune Minerals’ Arctos Anthracite project, which the Tahltan oppose. Bennett emphasized that the suspension is temporary.

 

Just Posted

Police identify man found dead in Saanich, seek his backpack and shoes

Investigators seek shoes, backpack that Andrew Michael Sidor was seen wearing

Protester threatens citizen’s arrest at federal government event in Oak Bay

Police escort protester away after confronting federal minister

Uplands Park designated a national heritage site

Feds make $4.3 million announcement in Oak Bay

Oak Bay police arrest one of two suspects after resident held at gunpoint

Police expect second arrest ‘in the very near future’ after armed robbery

VIDEO: Canadian zoos’ captive breeding programs help preserve endangered species

Programs considered last-ditch effort to prevent local extinctions of turtles, butterflies and more

Man launches petition to bring charter schools to B.C.

The move could see up to 20 charter schools come to the province

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Island teen Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island woman was discovered

Vancouver man arrested after pregnant woman’s SUV stolen, then crashed

Police are recommending charges against a 22-year-old Vancouver man

Elections Canada to assess ‘partisan’ climate change rhetoric case by case

People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier has said climate change is not an emergency nor caused by human

Unseasonable snow forces campers out of northeastern B.C. provincial park

Storm brought as much as 35 centimetres of snow to the Fort Nelson, Muncho Lake Park-Stone Mountain Park

B.C. log export rules killing us, northwest harvester says

NorthPac Forestry says Skeena Sawmills has plenty of timber

Environment groups warned saying climate change is real could be seen as partisan

Talk of climate change could be viewed as advocating against Maxime Bernier, the leader of the People’s Party of Canada

Most Read