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Tsilhqot'in Nation denounces BC support for Prosperity mine

The Tsilhqot'in National Government has denounced the support given to the Prosperity mine by provincial mines minister Bill Bennett.

In a news release posted on the Indigenous Peoples Issues website, the TNG invoked the federal panel's warning of "high magnitude, long term, irreversible" impact on Tsilhqot'in people and culture.

The release quoted Chief Marilyn Baptiste of the Xeni Get'in community:

"The Province and the Mining Association often talk about their so-called commitment to responsible mining. This was an opportunity to walk the talk, and to admit that some projects are unsustainable and should not go forward.

"The Panel confirmed that this mine would permanently destroy an area that is a place of worship for our people, a cultural school for our children, and a bread basket that has fed our people for centuries.

"And the very same day, the Minister and the Mining Association are calling for approval of the Project at any cost."

The release also quoted TNG lawyer Jay Nelson:

"When you see these conclusions from a federal Panel, it really sounds the alarm. In the almost 20 years of federal environmental assessments, covering dozens and dozens of major projects, only two previous Panels have found significant adverse environmental impacts – and in both cases the projects were rejected by the federal government.

"To put this in perspective, all of the major oil sands projects in northern Alberta have been approved based on findings of no significant adverse impacts on the environment after mitigation."

The TNG release also includes a map of the area where the proposed Prosperity mine would be located, and a link to a backgrounder on the Review Panel assessment.

The website of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources had nothing on the issue as of July 6.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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