Taseko and First Nation extend standstill to continue talks

8th December 2020 By: Mariaan Webb - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

Canadian firm Taseko Mines and the Tsilhqot’in Nation have extended a standstill agreement on outstanding litigation and regulatory matters relating to the miner’s tenure in the vicinity of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) for another year.

In late 2019 the Tŝilhqot'in Nation and Taseko Mines entered into a confidential dialogue, facilitated by British Columbia, to try to obtain a long-term solution to the conflict regarding Taseko's proposed gold/copper mine currently known as New Prosperity.

The dialogue was supported by the parties' agreement, on December 7, 2019, to a one-year standstill, owing to delays experienced in starting the dialogue as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Taseko said that, despite the delays, the company and the First Nation had made progress in establishing a constructive dialogue.

The New Prosperity project is said to be the largest undeveloped copper/gold deposit in Canada. It has an one-billion-tonne measured and indicated resource containing 5.3-billion pounds of copper and 13.3-million ounces of gold.

The Tsilhqot'in, however, are opposed to the project, which they say will put fish at risk and encroach on territory to which they hold Aboriginal rights.

Although the BC Environmental Assessment Office approved the original Prosperity mine project, issuing an environmental certificate in 2010, the federal Ministry of Environment later denied the project a certificate.

In May this year, the Supreme Court denied Taseko’s application to appeal the rejection of mine proposal by the federal government in 2014, leading to the Tŝilhqot’in Nation declaring the project “dead”.