Wild Border Watersheds

B.C. First Nations dismayed by extensions for New Prosperity, Tulsequah mines (The Province)

First Nations leaders are dismayed that the British Columbia government has extended environmental assessment certificates for two controversial mine projects.

The province granted a five-year extension to a certificate that had been given to an earlier version of the New Prosperity mine near Williams Lake.

The Tulsequah Chief mine, in the province's northwest, has been determined to have "substantially started," meaning the certificate will remain in effect for the life of the project....

... the Taku River Tlingit First Nation of Atlin has been opposing the Tulsequah Chief Mine for more than a decade. Chieftain Metals, which owns that project, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled last July that the government breached its duty to consult the band when it first declared the mine "substantially started" in 2012. The ruling forced the province to make the decision again, but after more consultation.

Polak said she is confident the province adequately consulted with the Taku River Tlingit before she made her announcement this week. But John Ward, a spokesman for the First Nation, said the band disagrees with the decision and will review it carefully.

"I don't know what it's going to take to change things," he said. "We're not opposing mines, we just want better processes, more responsible processes. We want assurance the land isn't going to be ruined for future generations."

(To read complete source article, click "The Province")

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