Several B.C. business organizations have urged the federal cabinet to approve the proposed $800-million Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine, even though a federal review panel has found that it would have a negative impact on the environment.
In a news release issued today (July 2), the Business Council of B.C., the Mining Association of B.C., the Independent Contractors and Businesses Association of B.C., and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce all spoke in favour of developing the mine in the B.C. Interior.
The business groups claimed it would add $340 million to the annual provincial gross domestic project, and generate $443 million for local, regional, and provincial governments over the lifetime of the project.
A federal panel released a report today, which found that Prosperity Mine would have "significant adverse environmental effects" on fish and fish habitat, navigation, and current use of lands and resources by First Nations for traditional purposes. In addition it would have the same negative consequences for "certain potential or established aboriginal rights or title".
Moreover, the panel determined that the project would result in a "significant adverse cumulative effect" on grizzly bears in the South Chilcotin and on fish and fish habitat.
The panel submitted its report to the ministers of fisheries and oceans, environment, transport, and natural resources.
The proposed mine is 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake. Aboriginal people and many other local residents have objected to a plan by Taseko Mines to eliminate Fish Lake, which is home to 85,000 trout.
The company has offered to build a new body of water, called Prosperity Lake, in a different location.
Last August, the Georgia Straight published a feature article, "Fight Looms Over Fish Lake", which included the following comment by Alexandria First Nation chief Bernie Elkins: "We feel the Creator is the only one who makes lakes.”
Earlier this year, the Williams Lake Tribune quoted a former Tsi Del Del Nation chief, Ervin Charleyboy, saying the mine will be built “over my dead body”.
The federal panel's executive summary is availablehere.
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