News release posted on behalf of:
Tsilhqot'in National Government
253-4th Avenue North, Williams Lake, BC V2G 4T4
Phone (250) 392-3918 — Fax (250) 398-5798
June 8, 2011 – Williams Lake, B.C. – The Tsilhqot’in view Taseko Mines Ltd.’s (TML) so-called “New Prosperity” proposal as equally dangerous as the first – the integrity of Teztan Biny and its surrounding environment are not ‘saved’ by literally surrounding this sacred lake by one of the world’s largest open pits, a tailings pond designed for 720 million tons of toxic waste, nor by continuing to destroy Little Fish Lake and Fish Creek. The impacts clearly articulated in the “scathing” 2010 Federal Review Panel Report, and acknowledged by the federal government’s rejection of the project in November 2010, are not addressed by simply re-packaging an already assessed proposal.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation call on the Federal and Provincial governments to reject this re-application because it does not address the issues raised by the Panel in its report, and because the proponent TML lacks all credibility and is undeniably abusing a process at the expense of the taxpayers and the communities.
The Federal Review Panel recognized that TML’s alternative plans also had significant adverse impacts and that “the proximity of the open pit and associated mining facilities would be close enough to Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) to eliminate the intrinsic value of the area to First Nations even if another alternative were chosen.” Therefore the threat to Tsilhqot’in rights, title and the integrity of this environmentally sensitive region are not addressed by TML’s repackaged plan, and the Tsilhqot’in Nation stands firm that no amount of money can justify destruction of this magnitude.
“This equally damaging proposal was submitted with zero consultation with the Tsilhqot’in Nation who in fact received the submission after it had already been sent to both governments. TML’s attempts to ‘revive’ the mine proposal without the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s input or consent is a clear signal that the company does not understand Tsilhqot’in rights and culture, and lacks respect for the environment and our communities. The Prosperity Project is dead!” declared Chief Joe Alphonse, Tribal Chairman of the Tsilhqot’in Nation and Chief of Tl’etinqox-t’in.
Grand Chief Stewart Philip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs, stated: “The Federal Review Panel already reviewed this ‘so-called’ alternative proposal. During the course of the previous public hearings, Taseko Mine officials admitted ‘all other options would be far more destructive in nature’ than their original proposal being promoted by the company. Clearly Taseko Mines Ltd. has no credibility.”
"The Tsilhqot’in Nation has been working to build relationships with the Federal and Provincial Government. Acceptance by them for a company that has unequivocally displayed bad faith to our communities is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. It definitely would show that the governments are not standing up to their fiduciary obligations. We call on both governments to respect and stand by the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s decision to protect this area from mining and the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP),” declares Marilyn Baptiste, Chief of Tsilhqot’in People of Xeni Gwet’in.
For Media Enquiries:
1) Marilyn Baptiste, Chief of Xeni Gwet’in: (w) 250-394-7023 ext. 202 (c) 250-267-1401
2) Joe Alphonse, Chief of Tl’etinqox-t’in & Tribal Chairman: (w) 250-394-4212 (c) 250-305-8282
3) Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: (c) 250-490-5314