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No comment from Ottawa as Taseko alleges environmental report based on wrong info

by Greg Klein | November 6, 2013

Did a 24-month federal assessment base its conclusions on wrong information? That’s the claim made by Taseko Mines TSX:TKO late November 5. But the following day Ottawa wouldn’t comment.

Taseko stated that information provided by Natural Resources Canada to a federal review panel about tailings storage at the proposed New Prosperity mine was “completely different” than the company’s actual design. The ability of the storage facility to prevent seepage into the 118-hectare Fish Lake was a key concern about the $1.1-billion copper-gold open pit proposed for central British Columbia.

Speaking to late November 5, Taseko VP of corporate affairs Brian Battison was unable to explain how the feds made such a mistake.

Did they in fact do as Taseko claimed? And if so, how did that happen?

Questions posed by over the phone on November 6 were relayed by Natural Resources Canada to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. CEAA communications manager Lucille Jamault responded by e-mail that “the agency will not comment on the panel report at this time.”

Although the October 31 report panned New Prosperity, an actual decision is up to the federal minister of environment.

Jamault added, “Should the minister decide that the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, the federal cabinet would make a decision on whether or not the significant effects would be justified in the circumstances.”

Still to be explained is whether an expensive two-year review was squandered and, if so, how such a monumental mistake happened.

Read more about Taseko’s allegation.

Read more about the federal review panel’s report.

Read more about Taseko’s proposal, community responses and the environmental review process.

Read about Ottawa’s redefinition of environmental issues.

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