Vancouver protesters slam Taseko’s proposed Prosperity gold mine near Williams Lake

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      A local activist is urging Taseko Mines not to proceed with its proposed Prosperity gold and copper mine that would turn Fish Lake, near Williams Lake, into an impoundment reservoir for toxic waste-rock.

      “Taseko Corp. wants to build a gold mine by destruction,” Ivona Vujica of Paradigm Shift Environmental Alliance told the Straight during a noon vigil today (September 2) close to Taseko’s offices in downtown Vancouver. “It is predicated on the destruction of Fish Lake, which is on Chilcotin [Tsilhqot’in] First Nation territory. It is their land and it is their homeland. If the Fish Lake is destroyed, the Chilcotin First Nation are going to lose their homeland, and where are they going to go?”

      Shortly after the vigil ended, 12 environmental groups sent out a joint press release calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to save Fish Lake, which they said is home to 80,000 rainbow trout and sacred to the Tsilhqot’in.

      Ivona Vujica on the proposed Prosperity mine.

      The groups are urging the federal government to heed the findings of its own environmental assessment review panel, which on July 2 concluded that the mine would have a “significant adverse effect” on fish habitat and First Nations in the area. The panel also concluded that there could be a “significant adverse cumulative effect” on grizzly bears in the South Chilcotin region and fish habitat generally.

      In June, the B.C. government issued a 25-year mining lease to Taseko for the Prosperity project.

      Vujica and the groups listed in the release, including Sierra Club B.C. and Canadian Boreal Initiative, are expecting the Harper government to reveal its decision on the mine’s future as soon as September 10.

      Vujica said First Nations in the area are opposed to the project. The proposed open-pit mine is on the traditional lands of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations, a member of the Tsilhqot’in National Government, which won a court case recognizing its rights to the area.

      Local activist Masrour Zoghi had one message for Taseko: “Stop being douche bags.”

      “I don’t want lakes to be turned into mine tailing dumps left, right and centre,” he said at the vigil. “This is just a bad example that they are setting, and hopefully it just won’t go through, because if it does, there is going to be a whole barrage of lakes that are going to be turned into dump sites, which is kind of sad.”

      The Straight stopped by Taseko’s offices on West Pender Street and dropped off a business card, but company representatives didn’t grant an interview today.




      Sep 2, 2010 at 10:07pm

      All the land is sacred to the natives living there, there's nothing special about this particular lake.
      What is special is the amount of gold and copper found in the area. There aren't places like that elsewhere in Canada, and if Canadians wants to be able to afford to eat trout in the future, the mining business is what will drive the Canadian economy. Lakes are beautiful of course, but this is a small sacrifice worth making for the benefit of the people.


      Sep 3, 2010 at 5:18am



      robert cassidy

      Sep 3, 2010 at 6:14am

      the contentions of the article are absurd..Prosperity is located on Crown land - nowhere near any aboriginal property ,Fish lake is an obscure , shallow pothole ...The protestors are totally detached from economic reality. .


      Sep 3, 2010 at 7:51am

      Heeeyyy Jaacko. Let them build their own lake and make sure it doesn't leech into the water table. If they do that I will support them. The guys who want to kill the lake are the same ones who support HST. They're just looking at the easiest way to exploit the property. Let them do it properly without damaging the environment. I bet $10 they can't do it. Otherwise why propose this way?


      Sep 3, 2010 at 8:40am

      Unfortunatly the mines find our lakes a convenient and cheap dumping grounds for toxic waste, I am afraid this will be a start to a slippery slope.


      This practice should be stopped, corporate profit should not come ahead of environmental concerns. Personally, I would like to leave something for my grandkids to inherit, not a bunch of toxic waste lakes!


      Sep 3, 2010 at 3:58pm

      Taseko said they can build another lake and move the fish, let them and fine the hell out them if it isn't done right, hold their feet to the fire until it is. Right now we are a cash strapped province and badly need jobs and tax revenue, it's one little lake let them proceed with their mine plan. I bet if you did a comparison between forestry and logging you'd see forestry has had a more adverse effect on the environment with regards to killiing fish and displacing wildlife than any mine ever has. By the way do people realize where most of the materials used to build pretty much everything in the world come from? The mining industry.


      Sep 3, 2010 at 4:18pm

      It would be nice if the protester knew what she was talking about, does she have a clue? To say that Harper will be committing genocide on First Nations tells me she has no credibility and does not know anything about Canada and First Nations. Genocide...what an idiot.

      George Johnson

      Sep 3, 2010 at 4:57pm

      These so called environmentalists are so phony. Their main objectives are self promotion, publicity and continued handouts from the government. Have any of these people ever had a real job that produced something that has a positive net gain for society? Most are professional protesters and could care less about the people or land they are paid to spout off about. Most intelligent people see through their sorry attempt to derail the local economy.

      bin readin

      Sep 5, 2010 at 6:01pm

      The things you can learn with a little research.
      This story is not so simple.

      In 2008, after Taseko Mines spent more than $100 million surveying and preparing what it now calls the Propserity Mine, the Conservative government classified Fish Lake under the federal Fisheries Act's Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMERs), effectively saying this is no longer a lake, but a toxic holding pond for effluent and mineral debris from the proposed open pit mine.

      Boom, hiss.
      Repeal the regulations, and have a proper environmental assessment on this and all mining proposals in Canada.

      But wait, there's more.

      Vuica isbeing completely disingenuous when she says: "If the Fish Lake is destroyed, the Chilcotin First Nation are going to lose their homeland, and where are they going to go?”

      Here is a map of the treaty claim area.

      Fish Lake, located about 10 km north of the Taseko Lakes is NOT part of the official land claim area, as defined on First Nation council's website.
      (Go to Google maps, and type in these coordinates - 51 27 0 N 123 37 0 W - and compare them to the official land claim map above.)

      Good guys? Bad guys?

      We're being played for dupes from all sides.

      Fack Gordon Campbell

      Sep 7, 2010 at 9:00pm

      No one is willing to call bullshit on the claims that the Redstone band members drive an hour south to fish for stunted growth trout when Punzi Lk is 5 minutes down the road and has some of the best fishing in the Chilcotin.

      This isn't native land. It's crown land that the FN bands in the area think they own mineral rights to. They think its theirs because they were given a map by the provincial government a while back and asked where their "traditional territory" was. And then 250% of the province was divided and anyone who had purchased timber licenses or mineral rights were then extorted in order to get to their goal because the government didn't have the balls to say what the rules were.

      If this application is shot down because of opposition you can kissing investment in this province goodbye. We can't become a nation of wallmart greeters selling cheap imported crap to one another while the natives continue to suck millions out of taxpayers pockets while the rest of us have no representation because we were born of the wrong race.

      It's time to approve this mine and cut the crap that this is going to destroy the entire fraser river fishery. IT ISN'T. The lies of greenpeace need to be outed. This is going to temporarily close a lake and another one will be created.