Monday 19th October 2020

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘Taseko Mines Ltd (TKO)’

A resource-less approach

August 21st, 2020

Attacks persist, but Canada has nothing to replace the economy it denigrates

by Greg Klein | August 21, 2020

“Very disheartened,” the Mining Association of Canada expressed more than usual frustration as another resource project faced another unexpected setback. This one caused special pain since it resulted from Bill C-69, which the industry group had controversially supported. MAC did so thinking the bill would fix problems associated with the federal environmental act of 2012. But the association had also supported Ottawa back then, before becoming disillusioned with the legislation’s implementation. Could there be a pattern here?

MAC expressed its most recent discouragement on August 20 after federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced Teck Resources’ (TSX:TECK.A/TSX:TECK.B) Castle coal proposal would face a federal review under the Impact Assessment Act in addition to the provincial review already underway.

Attacks persist, but Canada has nothing to replace the economy it denigrates

Teck’s Fording River operation: Does a supposedly green economy
have no room for steel-making coal? (Photo: Teck Resources)

As a new source of metallurgical coal just south of Teck’s Fording River mine in southeastern British Columbia, Castle would add “several decades” of life to the currently depleting operation, the company maintains. Teck hoped to begin Castle development in 2023 and production in 2026, to replace the existing operation early next decade.

Yet the size of the proposal calls for an environmental review at the provincial level only, Teck and MAC say, arguing that federal IAA intervention isn’t necessary.

“It seems clear that this decision was political in nature as there are many projects across the country with equal or more significant impacts that are not subject to the IAA,” MAC president/CEO Pierre Gratton asserted. “This is a case of the government succumbing to pressure from political interest groups while also placating the U.S. government’s EPA and the state of Montana.”

Yet Canada’s new regimen was supposed to end much of the federal-provincial review duplication, which helped explain MAC’s support for C-69 last year even after Parliament rejected most of the Senate’s proposed amendments. Over objections from the oilpatch and some uranium companies, MAC declared the new legislation an improvement over the former Tory government’s 2012 Environmental Assessment Act.

MAC had supported the 2012 transformation too. But later the group decided it did not “live up to its promise,” Gratton told CBC last year.

In making this decision, the federal government is sending a clear message that instead of providing support for resource projects and jobs in a time of unprecedented economic crisis, it will choose to do the opposite. —The Mining Association
of Canada

On August 20 he stated MAC’s support for the new IAA had been “contingent on it being implemented well. It is unfortunate that the past month has now given our industry reason to question whether it will be implemented in a fair and efficient manner.”

Weeks earlier, MAC noted, Ottawa released its new Strategic Assessment on Climate Change, “which included numerous requirements that are unworkable for the mining sector and is calling into question whether the act will be well and fairly implemented.”

Implementation aside, the IAA is hardly free of inherent faults. A February 2019 commentary by Grant Bishop and Grant Sprague of the C.D. Howe Institute warned that C-69 threatened projects by “congesting the assessment process with wider public policy concerns and exacerbating the political uncertainty facing proponents with a highly subjective ‘public interest’ standard.” That allowed for “increasing subjectivity and politicization in project approvals,” the authors contended.

Additionally, they said the new bill failed to clarify the duty to consult natives.

C-69 passed at the same time as Bill C-48, aka the “tanker moratorium,” and shortly after a ban on offshore Arctic drilling.

Problems are obvious at the provincial level too. One early sign of a growing trend was B.C.’s 2012 rejection of Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:BKM) Morrison copper-gold-molybdenum proposal despite an environmental assessment that found the project was “not likely to have significant adverse effects.” In the legislature last spring MLA Andrew Weaver, B.C.’s former Green leader, suggested the previous BC Liberal government rejected Morrison as a trade-off to gain native support for a gas transmission line to the proposed Pacific Northwest LNG plant.

The BC Liberal government did, however, support Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) New Prosperity proposal. Ottawa scrapped that one, partly by expanding its environmental mandate to include spiritual and cultural issues.

B.C.’s current NDP government, meanwhile, has come under fire from Taranis Resources TSXV:TRO for a process that it said involved 28 government reviewers, “multiple catastrophic deficiencies and concerns” and “moving goalposts.” These are, of course, just a few examples of ongoing frustration that characterizes resource and infrastructure development across Canada.

Most vexing is the duty to consult. Does that create a veto? Not according to Gratton, who has previously insisted: “We’re not in a world of veto. We’re in a world of deep and meaningful engagement.”

But that deep and meaningful stuff can work in reverse too. When the Nunavut Impact Review Board recommended federal rejection of an expansion proposal for Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River operation in 2018, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association convinced Ottawa to approve the company’s request.

The Wet’suwet’en pipeline protests, moreover, appear to show some natives trying to veto others. The cause was taken up by Canada’s wider protest culture following its mass adulation for a Swedish teenager in demonstrations that at least hinted at religious fervour. The anti-pipeline movement quickly morphed into Shut Down Canada, an effort that showed signs of succeeding until quelled by the pandemic. Yet widespread demonstrating resumed with an American issue imported to this country awkwardly but with immediate and uniform support from Canadian media, political and business elites.

Will that support follow when protesters channel their emotions en masse back to environmental issues? Certainly much of the political and media establishment already grant credibility to seriously disruptive tactics that, for example, block people’s freedom of movement.

It’s in this milieu that the prime minister is speculated to be preparing an unprecedented social spending program that would dwarf previous deficit budgets.

Gold bugs might believe the outcome will vindicate their predictions for fiat currency. They might also feel vindicated by this week’s investment of US$560 million in Barrick Gold TSX:ABX by Berkshire Hathaway, whose legendary CEO Warren Buffett was previously known to disparage gold.

One of the world’s largest gold producers and nominally a Canadian company, Barrick has just one mine and no exploration or development projects in this country. For its part, Berkshire Hathaway expressed its opinion of Canada in early March when the company cancelled its planned $4-billion investment in GNL Québec. A spokesperson for the LNG proponent cited investor nervousness about the “current Canadian political context” demonstrated by rail blockades.

If Canada’s abandoning its resource economy, the replacement remains uncertain. That might be a situation better understood by investors than policy-makers, but it carries implications much wider than stock prices.

Does B.C. use regulatory uncertainty as a political ploy? Former Green leader cites Pacific Booker

June 25th, 2020

by Greg Klein | June 25, 2020

Regulatory limbo might have been deliberately imposed on a British Columbia mining proponent for political reasons. That’s a concern raised by MLA Andrew Weaver as he once again questioned the provincial government’s handling of Pacific Booker Minerals’ (TSXV:BKM) proposed Morrison mine.

Does B.C. use regulatory uncertainty as a political ploy? Former Green leader cites Pacific Booker

Independent MLA Andrew Weaver

New environmental regulations introduced in 2018 don’t apply to the project, the New Democrat government states. But the former rules have been applied without clarity, Weaver argued. Addressing the legislature on June 24 the former Green leader, now an independent MLA, charged the government with stalling the project’s environmental assessment by confusing the process.

Acknowledging there’s “no smoking gun,” Weaver’s blog cited “suspicious circumstantial evidence” that the former BC Liberal government rejected the mine to gain native support for LNG projects. That government turned down the copper-gold-molybdenum proposal in 2012 although the province’s Environmental Assessment Office found that, with successful mitigation measures, the mine is “not likely to have significant adverse effects.”

Weaver’s post continued, “This is the same government that went to Ottawa in 2014 to lobby the federal government to approve [Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) New Prosperity proposal], a project that had received two negative assessments by federal review panels.”

At the time mines minister Bill Bennett refused to explain the apparent contradiction.

Pacific Booker lawyered up in 2012, resulting in a 2013 B.C. Supreme Court decision ordering the province to reconsider Morrison. As Weaver noted, “Justice [Kenneth] Affleck would describe the environmental assessment process as a ‘sham’ and accuse the province of repeatedly ‘moving the goalposts’ during the assessment process.”

But in 2015 the Liberals ordered the project to undergo further assessment. Weaver’s blog pointed out the Lake Babine Nation’s uncertain support for LNG projects including the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission line. Referring to the pipeline in 2016, Weaver wrote, “Chief Wilf Adam was quoted in Business in Vancouver as saying: ‘If they overturn or change their decision in favour of PBM to start this mine, then all gloves are off—and any agreement we made with the province.”

For Pacific Booker, this order has been tantamount to a rejection of its project without the ministry formally saying no.—MLA Andrew Weaver

The NDP narrowly won the 2017 election, governing with the support of three Green MLAs. A new Environmental Assessment Act passed in 2018, but doesn’t apply to Morrison. The Liberal government’s section 17 order imposed in 2015 remains in force. But “Pacific Booker has been unable to clarify the precise nature of what is actually required in the section 17 order,” Weaver told the legislature. “For Pacific Booker, this order has been tantamount to a rejection of its project without the ministry formally saying no.”

Weaver asked environment minister George Heyman to amend and clarify the 2015 requirements. Weaver added that it’s impossible for the company to move through the regulatory process “when that process has not been defined.”

Heyman denied Weaver’s charges, saying the requirements have been specific and his staff “are working to help answer any questions that the proponent has with respect to the information required.”

Weaver quit the Greens in January after announcing his intention to leave politics for family reasons. A mathematician, climate scientist and University of Victoria professor who shared in a 2007 Nobel Prize, he accused his former party colleagues last month of preferring re-election to upholding Green principles.

Last March Taranis Resources TSXV:TRO lambasted B.C.’s current environmental review process, saying the Thor polymetallic project was stalled as the company dealt with “28 technical reviewers from four sectors” over a 17-month period.

Taranis directors argued that “it is easy to conclude that the current B.C. government is intent on eliminating the mining industry in the province by instituting a barrage of vague and ever-changing requirements for permitting and operation, with a complement of inexperienced and unqualified civil servants in positions of authority whose obvious intention is nothing less than making sure nothing gets done.”

July 2, 2020, update: Taranis Resources gets B.C. Ombudsperson intervention in regulatory dispute; B.C. plans Mines Act revisions.

Geoscience BC seeks to put “hidden” copper-gold resources into the public domain

December 6th, 2019

by Greg Klein | December 6, 2019

Additional base and precious metals could be waiting for discovery in a region already hosting some of British Columbia’s largest mines. A new program by Geoscience BC plans a number of measures to search for potential deposits hidden beneath glacial till.

Under scrutiny will be a 50,700-kilometre swath of Quesnel terrane between Centerra Gold’s (TSX:CG) Mount Milligan gold-copper mine to the northwest and, to the southeast, Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) 75%-held Gibraltar copper-molybdenum operation and Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) Mount Polley project, now on care and maintenance. Backed by $2.9 million in funding, the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research project begins with two programs. One will analyze new and existing till samples with satellite imagery to trace samples and geochemical anomalies to their source. Another program will use existing geophysical data to identify, map and model potential copper-gold deposits.

Geoscience BC seeks to put “hidden” copper-gold resources into public domain

Receding glaciers may have helped hide valuable resources.
(Photo: Geoscience BC)

Results are scheduled for 2021, when drilling is anticipated and additional related projects may take place. Data will be made public for the benefit of communities, governments and academia, as well as the mining sector.

Consequently, support for the program came from communities as well as industry. At a December 5 open house North Central Local Government Association president Lara Beckett said, “The communities of the NCLGA benefit from the valuable public data on water, energy and minerals that these initiatives provide. NCLGA members have passed resolutions in support of the work of Geoscience BC and look forward to working together on future opportunities to strengthen communities throughout north-central British Columbia.”

Association for Mineral Exploration president/CEO Kendra Johnston called the work “important to AME members because the data and information that they provide inspire new mineral exploration and attract new investment to British Columbia. We look forward to seeing the results from the first two projects, and to learning more about future phases.”

Other recently announced Geoscience BC programs include Porphyry Vectoring Techniques in Advanced Argillic Altered Rocks, a study of three known porphyry copper-gold deposits in the province’s northwest and north-central regions.

Earlier last month Geoscience BC published a report on mineral deposit types in the Toodoggone area of B.C.’s north-central region. Among several other projects, the non-profit group is also studying methods of extracting rare earth elements from B.C. coal deposits.

Learn more about the Central Interior Copper-Gold Research project.

Tsilhqot’in chairperson Joe Alphonse reacts to a court decision allowing work on B.C.’s New Prosperity project

September 26th, 2018

…Read more

Russell Hallbauer of Taseko Mines comments on a court decision allowing an exploration permit for B.C.’s New Prosperity project

September 24th, 2018

…Read more

Taseko claims court victory but natives call on B.C. to block New Prosperity

August 28th, 2018

by Greg Klein | August 28, 2018

In theory, the latest court decision regarding Taseko Mines’ (TSX:TKO) New Prosperity project might have brought some clarity to Canada’s vaguely defined “duty to consult.” But how that plays out in practice remains to be seen.

On August 28 the company stated that last week’s British Columbia Supreme Court decision overrules native objection to an exploration permit. The ruling allows Taseko to collect data that might overcome a 2014 federal environmental rejection for the proposed gold-copper open pit in the province’s south-central area.

Taseko claims court victory but natives call on B.C. to block New Prosperity

Calling the decision “unequivocal,” company president/CEO Russell Hallbauer said it affirmed the province’s “authority to approve resource development work even in the face of aboriginal opposition. The Crown’s obligation is to consult with aboriginal people and to accommodate their interests where reasonable to do so. However, there is no duty or obligation to secure aboriginal support for the work being proposed.”

In 2010 a predecessor project called Prosperity met federal environmental rejection largely due to a plan to convert a 118-hectare lake into a tailings facility. Taseko then submitted a $300-million revision called New Prosperity, which would relocate the tailings. In the face of continued objection by the Tsilhqot’in National Government, Ottawa delivered its second rejection in 2014.

New Prosperity did, however, win provincial environmental approval and had the support of B.C.’s previous Liberal government. Last week’s court decision ruled on a challenge to an exploration permit granted under the Liberals.

“From our perspective, the permit is like the Liberal party giving a welcoming present of infected smallpox blankets to the junior incoming NDP government,” commented Tsilhqot’in chairperson Joe Alphonse. “The proper steps would be to pull the pin on this permit. The NDP government has the power to do so and should do the honourable thing—something that the former B.C. Liberal government wouldn’t do. We will be exhausting all options to ensure our cultural, spiritual and sacred lands are protected for the use of current and future generations.”

Last year the Tsilhqot’in petitioned the legislature to create a “tribal park” that would preserve the area including New Prosperity.

A 2009 estimate credited the proposed mine with measured and indicated resources totalling 1.01 billion tonnes averaging 0.41 g/t gold and 0.24% copper for 13.3 million ounces gold and 5.3 billion pounds copper. A report commissioned by Taseko forecast 71,000 direct and indirect jobs, $4.3 billion in federal taxes and $5.52 billion in provincial taxes resulting from the mine.

Taseko also holds a 75% interest in Canada’s second-largest open pit copper mine, the Gibraltar operation in south-central B.C. In Arizona, the company’s Florence copper mine is expected to begin production by year-end.

Canadian International Minerals reconsiders niobium potential of B.C. REE project

January 26th, 2017

by Greg Klein | January 26, 2017

Canadian International Minerals reconsiders niobium potential of B.C. REE project

A rare earths property in British Columbia’s Rocky Mountain rare metal belt gains new attention as Canadian International Minerals TSXV:CIN takes another look at previous assays. An 11-hole program on the Wicheeda alkaline-carbonatite project in 2011 targeted rare earths but the company didn’t consider the niobium results to be material info. On January 26, however, CIN released niobium assays from four 2011 holes, with highlights showing:

Hole CA-11-010

  • 0.188% Nb2O5 over 16.06 metres, starting at 171.8 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.27% over 6.3 metres)
  • (which includes 0.731% over 0.98 metres)

CA-11-014

  • 0.156% over 24.43 metres, starting at 173.23 metres
  • (including 0.217% over 9.57 metres)
  • (which includes 0.337% over 3.9 metres)

  • 0.226% over 37.6 metres, starting at 232.98 metres
  • (including 0.297% over 18.27 metres)
  • (which includes 0.321% over 8.48 metres)
  • (which includes 0.632% Nb2O5 and 158 ppm tantalum over 2.2 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

Formerly called the Carbo project, Wicheeda showed RE results in the range of 0.2% to 0.5% total rare earth oxides in most of the 11 holes sunk during 2011. The previous year’s campaign found significant RE mineralization in all nine holes, with one intercept hitting 1.43% TREO over 37.3 metres.

Adjacent to CIN’s Wicheeda, Spectrum Mining’s Wicheeda project holds an inferred 11.3 million tonnes averaging 2.5% TREO.

CIN noted two niobium deposits hosted in the Rocky Mountain rare metal belt. The Upper Fir deposit on Commerce Resources’ (TSXV:CCE) Blue River project holds an indicated 48.41 million tonnes averaging 0.161% Nb2O5 and 197 ppm Ta2O5. Located about 330 kilometres southeast of Wicheeda, Upper Fir also holds an inferred 5.4 million tonnes averaging 0.176% Nb2O5 and 191 ppm Ta2O5.

About 240 kilometres northwest of Wicheeda, Taseko Mines TSX:TKO brought the Aley project to pre-feas in 2014 with proven and probable reserves of 83.8 million tonnes averaging 0.5% Nb2O5.

CIN stated it “continues to re-evaluate the exploration targets for the Wicheeda project and will be investigating a number of partnership avenues in the coming weeks.”

In November the company released sample results from a due diligence program on its proposed Tisova acquisition, a former copper-polymetallic mine in the Czech Republic.

Dual challenge

July 24th, 2016

Do mining proposals really need both provincial and federal enviro scrutiny?

by Greg Klein

Ottawa’s rejection of the proposed New Prosperity copper-gold mine in British Columbia certainly hasn’t gone unchallenged. Taseko Mines TSX:TKO has already launched two judicial reviews as well as a civil suit castigating the manner in which the company says the feds carried out their authority. Now Taseko seems to be challenging federal authority itself.

“Ownership and development of mineral resources are explicit areas of provincial jurisdiction and responsibility, granted under the 1982 amendments to the Constitution Act 1867,” said a July 20 statement from president/CEO Russell Hallbauer. “The New Prosperity environmental assessment process has been unduly influenced by the actions of the federal government.”

Do mining proposals really need both provincial and federal enviro scrutiny?

How far the company intends to push that argument remains to be seen. But this typically Canadian jurisdictional muddle also raises the question of why two environmental processes are necessary—not to mention how they can come to such different conclusions. Prior to the feds’ rejection, B.C. had approved the mine.

B.C. now has a substitution agreement that allows some resource proposals to forgo the federal review for a provincial process. Ottawa still gets a say, though. Out of the one review come two decisions, federal and provincial.

B.C.’s the only province with such an agreement. According to terms first set out in a 2013 MOU, the provincial environment minister pitches a substitution request to her federal counterpart, who considers factors including transboundary effects, impacts on federal lands and other jurisdictional interests. If Ottawa agrees, the province conducts the review. If Ottawa doesn’t agree, a co-operative assessment or joint review panel might take place instead.

Thirteen applications have been approved for substitution so far, seven of them mining proposals, according to info supplied by the province’s Ministry of Environment.

The duplication of the process and sometimes even the lack of clarity regarding what’s in and what’s out of each review does create confusion and unnecessary delays.—Karina Briño, president/CEO
of the Mining Association of B.C.

Substitution wasn’t the streamlined ideal hoped for by the Mining Association of B.C., says president/CEO Karina Briño. But “in the absence of legislative change, we have been advocating for substitution. The duplication of the process and sometimes even the lack of clarity regarding what’s in and what’s out of each review does create confusion and unnecessary delays. So we do feel very strongly there can be one well-articulated process with the necessary scope to meet the requirements of both jurisdictions.”

Environmental assessments also require companies to address issues such as native heritage, land rights and potential land rights. That’s as it should be, the MABC believes. “We’ve always supported a process that does examine proposals not only from a technical perspective but also from a socio-economic lens…. What we would like to see is more consistency from a federal/provincial level with the same concepts applied,” Briño explains.

“What we’re looking for is clarity in terms of the review’s scope, its timeline, the level of information required to meet the duty to consult,” she adds. “What we don’t think is very constructive—and it does create a lot of uncertainty on the ground—is when the rules of the game change halfway through…. In the process of assessing the impact on the environment and on aboriginals, it’s very important for the industry to know the scope of both those aspects will not change halfway through the process.”

Meanwhile Taseko has levelled strong accusations at Ottawa. “We are challenging the federal government on a couple of different fronts regarding the federal assessment of New Prosperity,” VP of corporate affairs Brian Battison says.

The original Prosperity proposal met strong native opposition largely due to a plan to drain the 118-hectare Fish Lake for use as a tailings facility. That was key to Ottawa’s first rejection in November 2010. Taseko then submitted a multi-million-dollar revision called New Prosperity, which the company said would save the lake by relocating the tailings. Natives, represented by the Tsilhqot’in National Government, still objected. Ottawa delivered its second rejection in February 2014.

Since then the company has requested one judicial review to examine Taseko’s charge that the federally appointed assessment panel considered a mine plan different than New Prosperity. The other judicial review will examine Taseko’s claim that the government based its decision on the faulty assessment, disregarding the company’s warning. That review will also look at Taseko’s claims that the government and its officials held secret meetings with project opponents. The lawsuit seeks compensation.

Taseko’s allegations have yet to be heard in court. Battison expects dates to be set soon for both judicial reviews.

The company also plans to file a notice of work with the province, allowing Taseko to gather site info “primarily to address questions that were raised during the federal environmental assessment,” Battison says. As part of that process the company stated it “looks forward to working with the six local Tsilhqot’in First Nation bands as represented by the Tsilhqot’in National Government….”

That suggests considerable optimism on the company’s part. In 2014 Tsilhqot’in chiefs attributed Ottawa’s Prosperity/New Prosperity decisions to “an unprecedented two scathing independent expert panel reports which make clear that the project was unacceptable environmentally and in terms of its impact on First Nations’ rights and culture, and that these impacts were immitigable.”

But reserves containing 11 million ounces of gold and 4.2 billion pounds of copper—the continent’s largest undeveloped gold-copper porphyry—evidently encourage persistence.

Hunter Dickinson-backed Taseko battles Chicago private equity firm

May 6th, 2016

by SmallCapPower.com | May 6, 2016

As far as proxy battles go, it doesn’t get much nastier than this. In one corner is the management of Taseko Mines TSX:TKO, which has the backing of Hunter Dickinson. In the other is Raging River Capital, the dissidents, a Chicago-based private equity and investment firm which wants to replace the current board of directors with its own slate of nominees.

Hunter Dickinson-backed Taseko battles Chicago private equity firm

Taseko’s flagship is its 75%-owned Gibraltar,
Canada’s second-largest open pit copper mine.

Taseko’s flagship asset is its 75%-owned Gibraltar copper-molybdenum mine in British Columbia, the second-largest open pit copper mine in Canada, which produced a record 142 million pounds of copper in 2015. The company also owns the Florence copper project, an advanced-staged development project in Arizona, which it acquired when it bought Curis Resources in 2014.

Interesting upside for Taseko could come from its Aley niobium project in northern British Columbia, the third-largest niobium deposit in the world, which the company purchased for $5.4 million in 2007. After the company invested $30 million into exploration and development work, it claims the project has an $860-million net present value.

Niobium is used primarily in the manufacturing of high-strength, light-weight and corrosion-resistant steel. Brazil has a dominant share (about 85%) of the world’s niobium output. Despite the fact that Aley’s grades are about one-third of those found in Brazil, it would offer up a new supply source for North American buyers, although the project’s remote access could be a problem.

Weighing on Taseko’s stock price during the past few years, in addition to falling commodities prices, has been the First Nations and Canadian government’s opposition to the company’s New Prosperity project in British Columbia, a large gold-copper porphyry deposit.

Continue reading this article on SmallCapPower.com.

Controversial ex-environment minister joins TMAC board of directors

March 15th, 2016

by Greg Klein | March 15, 2016

The announcement was somewhat muted, coming in the subhead and second paragraph of a February press release about Q4 financial and operating results. TMAC Resources TSX:TMR has appointed Leona Aglukkaq to its board of directors. The last environment minister in Canada’s former Conservative cabinet, Aglukkaq figures prominently in a lawsuit from Taseko Mines TSX:TKO against the federal government.

Controversial ex-environment minister appointed to miner’s board of directors

Leona Aglukkaq

Taseko alleged that senior officials including Aglukkaq’s deputy minister and parliamentary secretary held undisclosed meetings with opponents of the company’s proposed New Prosperity copper-gold mine after a Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency-appointed panel completed its review. According to Taseko, opponents “provided input on draft conditions for the decision statement.”

Taseko further claimed that “the minister relied on this information to conclude that the project was likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.”

The lawsuit doesn’t name Aglukkaq as a defendant. Taseko’s allegations haven’t been proven in court.

Months before Aglukkaq’s decision, Taseko stated that the environmental review considered a tailings storage design “completely different” from the company’s proposal.

Aglukkaq, the first Inuk to be appointed to cabinet, served two terms as MP for Nunavut until her defeat in last October’s federal election. She had previously served four years in the territorial legislature.

Located in the Kitikmeot region of western Nunavut, TMAC’s Hope Bay project has a 2015 pre-feasibility study that foresees a 20-year mine life producing 3.2 million gold ounces.

In his February announcement, TMAC executive chairperson Terry MacGibbon said, “In addition to her federal government experience, Ms. Aglukkaq has broad public government exposure, including international diplomatic experience as a minister of the Arctic Council (2012-2015), a leading inter-governmental forum promoting co-operation, co-ordination and interaction among the arctic states, arctic indigenous communities and other arctic inhabitants on common arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection.” She has also served on the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

Aglukkaq’s TMAC board appointment took effect February 25, exactly two years after she issued her New Prosperity decision.