Course, i was (and am) over-the-moon @ the Federal announcement (government’s announcement) that Taseko Mines Ltd. will NOT be allowed to go ahead with its proposed ‘Prosperity Mine’ – a project which i and many others, including the Council of Canadians, David Suzuki Foundation and Friends of Nemaiah Valley, had vehemently opposed due to the environmental destruction it would cause.
Prosperity Mine would have decimated old-growth forests, wildlife habitat (of grizzly bears, cougars, wolves – even the last of North America’s wild horses) as well as the sustainable livelihoods of local First Nations people, guest ranchers etc. Aside from the fact that Nemaiah Valley – a remote wilderness in BC’s Chilcotins – is one of my fave places in the world…
If the Federal government HAD approved the mine, it would have been the first time they had acted against the recommendations of its Environmental Review panel (CEAA) – which formally denounced the Prosperity proposal for its many adverse environmental effects that would be “irreversible, longterm and impossible to mitigate”. So why the announcements – within a day or 2 – of Campbell’s resignation as BC’s premier, along with Jim Prentice stepping down as Minister of the Environment? If these events ARE related it’s no doubt because the BC Liberals, led by Gordon Campbell, had already given Prosperity Mine their provincial seal of approval back in 2008 – which flew in the face of Campbell’s pre-Olympics Action Plan 2007 promise to support tourism, particularly small-business entrepreneurs, in every way possible.
Federal approval of this heinous project would also have insulted the First Nations people (Tsilhqot’in) who have lived in this region and managed its wilderness as responsible stewards for centuries: Despite Premier Campbell’s promise to prioritize better relations with BC’s native people in all future land matters, the Tsilhqot’in were not properly consulted on this matter. Never mind the fact that trout-rich Fish Lake (the location of the proposed gold/copper mine, which would have had to be drained to make way for a mine-waste tailings pond, right at a main watershed to the Fraser River) is situated in an area literally surrounded by protected areas, ecological zones, provincial parks and wildlife habitats (see Google map of Cariboo-Chilcotin). Zoom out of Fish Lake on a map and you can see it’s flanked by Big Creek Provincial Park, Nunsti Provincial Park, Tatlayoko Protected Area, Ts’ylos Provincial Park – behind which lies Spruce Lake Protected Area and, beyond that, Churn Creek Protected Area.
As is obvious looking on a map, the Cariboo-Chilcotin is not called BC’s ‘last frontier’ for nothing: just up to the north of Nemaiah Valley and Big Creek Provincial Park you can see the devastating results of BC’s forestry industry, with vast treeless chunks or patches testifying decades of clearcutting: the price paid by BC’s wilderness.
If Taseko Mines Ltd. (owned by Hunter Dickinson, a company well-known in places like Tibet for its ruthless mining activities) plans to redouble its efforts to make Prosperity Mine a reality, resistance by those who recognize the priceless value of BC’s wilderness territories will be – justifiably – even fiercer than ever, gold/copper open-pit mining being one of the most environmentally destructive human activities on the planet…
Here are some further useful links on the topic: