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Tsilhqot'in to crash BC Mining Association gathering

Members of the Tsilhqot'in Nation will demonstrate their opposition to a tailings impound proposed on their territory at the Fairmont Waterfront this evening during meetings held by the Mining Association of British Columbia.

“We are planning on getting our word out that we are opposed to mines being developed in our area. It’s a mine that will drain a lake in our territory. The lake is situated directly above the Taseko River, which is a destination for salmon,” said Loretta Williams, Mining Coordinator with the Tsilhqot’in National Government.

The group, including four chiefs from bands in the area, will be speaking to any press present at the meetings, and handing out fliers to bring awareness to the project they say would destroy Teztan Biny, also known as Fish Lake.

“Taseko Mines Ltd. is proposing the use of Teztan Biny as a tailings impoundment area, a practice that since 2002 has been supported by controversial changes to the Fisheries Act under Schedule 2,” states a press release from the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

The changes, passed in 2002, allow mining companies to use lakes and other freshwater bodies as “tailings impoundment areas” to dispose of toxins.

In November of 2007, the Tsilhqot'in Nation proved their aboriginal title in the B.C. Supreme Court to around 200,000 hectares of land on their traditional territory, title Williams says is being ignored.

“We have proven rights and title in that area and they’re going on like business as usual. They’re not respecting the rights and title we have proven in that area.”

The B.C. Mining Association said that the project is undergoing as much environmental assessment as the country can provide on both the provincial and federal levels.

The association was not aware the protest would be taking place.

Christine McLaren reports for The Tyee.

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