Canada’s top court will not be hearing Taseko’s Mines Limited application to appeal a prior rejection of the proposed New Prosperity Mine southwest of Williams Lake.
Taseko’s application was dismissed by the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday (May 14), nearly five months after it was filed.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation has refused to give consent to the project, arguing the proposed open pit gold and copper mine threatens a sacred area of profound cultural importance to them.
“This decision has been a long time coming,” Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse said in a statement Thursday.
“We are celebrating the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision today, and taking the time to reflect on the immense sacrifices made by our communities and members to finally have their voices heard and respected.”
A 2013 environmental assessment report by an independent federal panel of experts concluded New Prosperity would have significant impacts on water quality, fisheries, and Tsilhqot’in cultural heritage, rights, and traditional practises.
Those conclusions were accepted by the federal government, which rejected the project in February 2014.
Legal challenges in regards to the decisions were filed by Taseko and were dismissed in December 2017. Appeals were dismissed by the Federal Court of Appeal in December 2019.
Taseko vice president of corporate affairs, Brian Battison said the company has no comment on the decision at this time.
This latest court decision is the latest in a series of court battles between the Tsilhqot’in Nation and TML.
Chief Russell Myers Ross noted they feel relieved about the decision.
“The last 30 years [have] been challenging and onerous on our communities and people,” he said in a statement. “Today’s decision is another step in our journey to reimagine a more respectful relationship with the Crown, grounded in recognition of our Aboriginal Rights and Title.”
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