Dozens attend meeting to discuss controversial mine near Williams Lake
- Dozens attend meeting to discuss controversial mine near Williams LakeDarlene Heidemann, Global News : Sunday, March 17, 2013 6:30 PM
Dozens came to talk about a controversial plan that has the potential to either stimulate the economy or destroy the environment near Williams Lake - depending on who you speak to. The Taseko mine project has been on and off the table for several years and this weekend's event, organized by the Chamber of Commerce is an attempt to see a revised plan approved.
"I think it's a very important project," said Len Doucette from the South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce. "It will employ up to 700 people and of course the indirect spin-off off of that is going to be huge."
Its first plan was accepted by the BC Liberals but rejected by a federal government environmental panel.
Taseko is now proposing "the new prosperity mine", a plan that would see an open mine within 500-meters of Fish Lake, and rather than draining it, the tailings pond will be moved two-kilometers upstream.
This is a plan the company says will be better for the local environment.
"Now Fish Lake is to be saved, and it's important people understand that," said Brian Battison, the VP of corporate affairs with Taseko Mines. "That they understand the science and the engineering of how that can be done."
But critics say they aren't buying it - that is because the new plan isn't new after all.
"This plan that Taseko is proposing right now, was option two under the first environmental review. Option two was deemed worst to be draining Fish Lake and turning it into a tailings pond," said Patricia Spencer, with Friends of Fish Lake.
Critics claim the jobs exaggerated with most in the construction phase, and they say the mine will only operate a maximum of 20 years with risk of early closure.
Many aboriginal groups say land title questions remain so too does a mistrust of the company.
A federal and environmental review of plan B is scheduled for this spring.
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