B.C. presses for Cariboo gold mine

Bill Bennett warns that more shutdowns are ahead in the B.C. Interior forest industry

An ore truck delivers a load at Taseko's Gibraltar copper mine.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett is in Ottawa Thursday to press for federal approval of the New Prosperity copper and gold mine proposed near Williams Lake.

Bennett spoke at a news conference organized by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce before leaving to meet with four federal ministers. He said the recent decision by Canfor Corp. to close its Quesnel sawmill in March is not the last of the bad news for the Cariboo-Chilcotin as the mountain pine beetle infestation takes its toll on the forest industry.

“Certainly the government if British Columbia is well aware that there is serious opposition to this project from the Tsilhqot’in people, and we respect that opposition,” Bennett said.

He said 37 per cent of B.C.’s mining royalties now go to First Nations through revenue sharing agreements, and there is more the province can do to work with the Tsilhqot’in communities that have fought against the Prosperity mine through two federal assessments.

Taseko Mines, which operates the nearby Gibraltar copper mine that is the region’s largest employer, revamped its design for Prosperity after it was rejected in the first federal review. After the second set of hearings, Taseko applied for a judicial review, saying the panel overlooked the use of a barrier in the mine tailings storage.

John Meech, a mine engineering professor at the University of B.C., said the new design not only protects nearby Fish Lake, but will enhance fish habitat.

“I base my assessment on a designed seepage rate that matches what is happening at two other mines in the region, Gibraltar and Mt. Polley, and anyone who tells you that the seepage rates are in error is not telling you the truth,” Meech said.

Ervin Charleyboy, former chief of the Alexis Creek First Nation, said he has been shunned by the current Tsilhqot’in chiefs for supporting the new mine design.

“I want a future for my grandkids,” Charleyboy said.

Tsilhqot’in leaders have appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in their long-running case to have their traditional territory declared independent from B.C.

 

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read