B.C. presses for Cariboo gold mine

Bill Bennett warns that more shutdowns are ahead in the B.C. Interior forest industry

An ore truck delivers a load at Taseko's Gibraltar copper mine.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett is in Ottawa Thursday to press for federal approval of the New Prosperity copper and gold mine proposed near Williams Lake.

Bennett spoke at a news conference organized by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce before leaving to meet with four federal ministers. He said the recent decision by Canfor Corp. to close its Quesnel sawmill in March is not the last of the bad news for the Cariboo-Chilcotin as the mountain pine beetle infestation takes its toll on the forest industry.

“Certainly the government if British Columbia is well aware that there is serious opposition to this project from the Tsilhqot’in people, and we respect that opposition,” Bennett said.

He said 37 per cent of B.C.’s mining royalties now go to First Nations through revenue sharing agreements, and there is more the province can do to work with the Tsilhqot’in communities that have fought against the Prosperity mine through two federal assessments.

Taseko Mines, which operates the nearby Gibraltar copper mine that is the region’s largest employer, revamped its design for Prosperity after it was rejected in the first federal review. After the second set of hearings, Taseko applied for a judicial review, saying the panel overlooked the use of a barrier in the mine tailings storage.

John Meech, a mine engineering professor at the University of B.C., said the new design not only protects nearby Fish Lake, but will enhance fish habitat.

“I base my assessment on a designed seepage rate that matches what is happening at two other mines in the region, Gibraltar and Mt. Polley, and anyone who tells you that the seepage rates are in error is not telling you the truth,” Meech said.

Ervin Charleyboy, former chief of the Alexis Creek First Nation, said he has been shunned by the current Tsilhqot’in chiefs for supporting the new mine design.

“I want a future for my grandkids,” Charleyboy said.

Tsilhqot’in leaders have appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada in their long-running case to have their traditional territory declared independent from B.C.


Just Posted

Needles killer frightened many in our town: BC author

Roy Bugera disrupted life in a quiet Vancouver Island village before moving to Arrow Lakes

Video: MP hears pot, pipeline and politics concerns

South Okanagan-West Kootenay MP hosts town hall forum in Penticton

Health Minister says coming changes will make difference in rural communities.

“As a government, Premier Horgan is committed to improving the ambulance service.”

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Most people in B.C. too ‘lazy,’ ‘apathetic’ to prepare for disasters: poll

Less than half of those surveyed aren’t insured for earthquakes and wildfires

Chris Hemsworth goes surfing in Tofino

The Australian actor donned a full body wetsuit to catch some waves on Vancouver Island this weekend

B.C. hospitals receive boost for dental surgery

Disabled people needing general anesthetic wait too long, Adrian Dix says

BCHL Today: Wenatchee Wild on the ropes and Smoke Eaters reeling

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

A frustrated Trump lashes out at special counsel Mueller

In a series of weekend tweets naming Mueller for the first time, Trump criticized the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election

B.C. teachers’ union to ask for higher salaries to help with shortages

B.C. starting teacher salaries are $10,000 to $15,000 lower than Ontario or Alberta says B.C. Teachers’ Federation president.

Few political staffers on Parliament Hill report sexual misconduct: survey

Sixty-five of the 266 survey respondents said they had personally experienced at least one incident of sexual harassment.

Most Read