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Defending Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) from the New Prosperity Mine

Taseko Mines Limited v. Canada (Environment)

September 4, 2014

Teztan Biny, also known as Fish Lake, and the area around it remain safe from toxic tailings from a proposed open-pit copper-gold mine.

In December 2019, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Taseko Mines Ltd.’s challenge of a federal government decision not to approve the company’s proposed New Prosperity Mine (Taseko Mines Limited v. Canada, 2019 FCA 319). Taseko’s legal case also challenged the federal environmental review panel findings upon which the government’s decision was based.

On behalf of MiningWatch Canada, Ecojustice intervened in the case to uphold the panel’s precautionary approach.

The panel found that Taseko failed to provide enough information during the review about how it would address major environmental concerns, and that the mine project would likely have several significant environmental effects.

If built, the open-pit gold and copper mine would have been located on the traditional territory of the Tŝilhqot’in Nation, in close proximity to Teztan Biny.

A federal review panel also previously found that the mine would have harmful effects on the lake, which is sacred to the Tŝilhqot’in, including impacts on fish and fish habitat, current use of lands and resources for traditional purpose, and on Tŝilhqot’in cultural heritage.

Ecojustice got involved in this case to help keep Teztan Biny and the surrounding area safe from a project that has repeatedly been found to pose a serious threat to the environment.

Alongside our clients at Miningwatch Canada, Ecojustice is also committed to supporting the Tŝilhqot’in, who led the fight to protect their territory from the proposed New Prosperity Mine.

Finally, Ecojustice got involved in this case to uphold the federal review panel’s precautionary approach to assessing the project.

We believe the precautionary principle — which states that governments, companies and individuals must prevent harm to human health and nature whenever possible — should inform all environmental decision-making in Canada.

Along with protecting the Fish Lake watershed and the river system, and once again affirming the Tŝilhqot’in peoples’ rights over their traditional lands, this decision supports the panel’s careful approach to allowing public participation and dealing with uncertainty about potential environmental impacts.

Ecojustice staff

Sean Nixon

May 2020
The still water of a lake reflects a shoreline of trees and a distant snow capped mountain.

Supreme Court confirms death of “zombie” New Prosperity Mine project

This blog was originally published on miningwatch.
Jan 2019
The still water of a lake reflects a shoreline of trees and a distant snow capped mountain.

In court to protect Teztan Biny from Taseko’s New Prosperity mine

Ecojustice lawyers appeared in the Federal Court of Appeal on Jan.
Jan 2019
press release

MEDIA ADVISORY: MiningWatch Canada, Ecojustice available to comment on New Prosperity mine court case

VANCOUVER – Ecojustice lawyers will be appearing in the Federal Court of Appeal today on behalf of MiningWatch Canada, to intervene in a case that will determine the future of Taseko’s proposed New Prosperity mine project.
Jan 2017
A large lake in the rain. In the distance a snow covered mountain stands concealed by grey clouds.

A precautionary tale: The importance of environmental assessments

Ecojustice and MiningWatch Canada head to court this week to defend Fish Lake (Teztan Biny in Tŝilhqot’in) from a risky mining project Mining projects often put communities and the environment in great peril – we only need to look to the Mount Polley tailings spill to see an example of the long-lasting devastation they can.