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The Project

Taseko Mines Ltd. proposed a large open pit gold-copper mine 125-km south west of Williams Lake, British Columbia (BC), to be called the Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine. In addition to the open pit mine, the project proposal included an onsite mill and support infrastructure, a tailings storage facility, a 125-km long electrical transmission line, explosives factory and magazine, and an access road.

The mine site would cover a 35 square km area in the Teztan Yeqox (Fish Creek) watershed. The watershed, which drains to the Dasiqox (Taseko River), includes Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and Y'anah Biny (Little Fish Lake) and the surrounding area called Nabas.

Mine development would result in the destruction of Fish Lake, Little Fish Lake and portions of Fish Creek (natural fish-bearing water bodies) for use as the tailings (mine waste) impoundment area.

The Review Process

The federal Prosperity Review Panel (the Panel) was appointed on January 19,2009 by the Minister of the Environment, the Honourable Jim Prentice, to conduct a review of Taseko's Project. The public hearing provided an opportunity to receive additional information on the views of participants to thoroughly examine Taseko's proposal.

Hearings were held from March 22 to May 3, 2010 and were attended by approximately 2700 attendees with approximately 320 different presentations. The panel released its report on July 2, 2010, concluding that:

The Panel concludes that the Project would result in significant adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat, on navigation, on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by First Nations and on cultural heritage, and on certain potential or established Aboriginal rights or title. The Panel also concludes that the Project, in combination with past, present and reasonably foreseeable future projects would result in a significant adverse cumulative effect on grizzly bears in the South Chilcotin region and on fish and fish habitat.

The responsible authorities are Fisheries and Oceans Canada (authorization under the Fisheries Act), Transport Canada (approval under the Navigable Waters Protection Act) and Natural Resources Canada (permit under the Explosives Act). Environment Canada and Health Canada participated as expert federal authorities.

Further details and environmental assessment documents are available from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency registry.

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