Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Government Rejects Proposed Gold, Copper Mine in BC Interior

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Federal Government Rejects Proposed Gold, Copper Mine in BC Interior

Article excerpt

Proposed gold, copper mine rejected by feds

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VANCOUVER - The federal government has again rejected a proposed $1.5-billion, open-pit, gold-copper mine in British Columbia's Interior over environmental concerns, a decision critics are celebrating but one the company vows to fight.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq said Wednesday evening that her ministry has rejected the New Prosperity Gold Copper Mine for a second time because it will cause significant adverse environmental effects that can't be mitigated.

Just four years ago, the ministry rejected the project because Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO) planned to drain a lake to use as a tailings pond.

"The Government of Canada will make decisions based on the best available scientific evidence while balancing economic and environmental considerations," said Aglukkaq in a news release.

"The government will continue to make responsible resource development a priority and invites the submission of another proposal that addresses the government's concerns."

Aglukkaq said in making the decision, the federal government considered and agreed with the conclusions of an report released by the Independent Review Panel on Oct. 31, 2013.

That report found the project would cause "significant adverse effects" on water quality, fish and fish habitat in a lake of significance to area First Nations.

The site is 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, B.C., and is the tenth largest undeveloped gold-copper deposit in the world.

Following the report's release, Taseko applied to the Federal Court for a judicial review of the assessment, arguing the panel used the wrong information in drawing its conclusions.

Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs at Taseko, said the company is "terribly disappointed," but added Wednesday's announcement is not the end of the project because it's too important for British Columbians and residents of a region known as the Cariboo.

"We're going to continue with our existing judicial review, which is currently before the courts," he said. "That will continue to run its course, and consideration will be given to what other course of action may be available to us. …

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