Who Owns BC?

Indian Mining Rights are Powerful, Yet Vague

By Greg Klein

“We’re sure trying hard to have discussions,” says Brian Battison, VP of Corporate Affairs for Taseko Mines Ltd TSX:TKO. “We’re having discussions with two native bands, the Canoe and the Esketemc. The TNG [Tsilhqot'in National Government, which represents five bands totalling about 3,100 people], however, refuses to talk with us despite repeated offers from us to talk about the project and let us answer questions.”

The discussions, were they to occur, would concern Taseko’s New Prosperity gold-copper project, a $1.1-billion mine proposed for south-central British Columbia. A previous proposal met BC’s environmental review only to be rejected in November 2010 by the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Now a revised proposal has come before the CEAA. The agency will decide by November 7 whether to accept New Prosperity as is or spend up to 12 months on another study. That’s the latest step in a project that began its environmental permitting process in 1993 and has so far cost Taseko over $110 million. If approved, New Prosperity may advance to the permitting needed to begin construction.

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