Taseko fires back at federal report claiming B.C. mine poses environmental threat – by Peter Koven (National Post – November 6, 2013)

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Taseko Mines Ltd. has a blunt message for Natural Resources Canada: you got it wrong.

But it is unclear what the federal government thinks of that message, or how it will impact Taseko’s efforts to build the New Prosperity mine in British Columbia.

Taseko’s statement came less than a week after a Federal Review Panel issued a damning report on New Prosperity. According to the panel, the proposed mine could create “significant adverse environmental effects” on local fish habitats and First Nations interests because of potential seepage from a tailings facility into nearby Fish Lake.

The panel report is important, as the government will review it before ruling on whether New Prosperity should go ahead. A highly negative report can swing Ottawa’s decision. According to Taseko, the report is badly flawed.

The company said it appears that Natural Resources Canada (NRC), a federal agency, studied the wrong tailings design when it evaluated New Prosperity. As a result, the review panel determined that the US$1.1-billion mine would have a seepage rate that is many times higher than Taseko proposed.

“It looks like they reviewed their own plan instead of Taseko’s plan,” Taseko vice-president Brian Battison said in an interview. “And when they reviewed their own plan, they found that it had significant adverse environmental effects.”

He said the NRC evaluated a tailings design that did not include a liner at the bottom of the basin. That liner, which is part of Taseko’s plan, is designed specifically to prevent seepage.

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