The federal government announced today its decision to reject Prosperity Mine, a controversial open pit gold-copper mine proposed for central British Columbia, stating that the project “cannot be granted federal authorizations to proceed due to concerns about the significant adverse environmental effects…”
If approved, the mine would have converted Fish Lake, a thriving natural lake home to more than 85,000 rainbow trout, to a toxic tailings pond.
“We are very pleased with this decision”, said Jennifer Agnolin, Ecojustice Staff Lawyer. “We commend the federal government for adhering to the environmental assessment panel’s findings and recognizing that it simply cannot justify the loss of Fish Lake. The adverse environmental impacts are too significant.”
The federal government had the final decision making power but was required to consider the expert panel’s report. The panel’s report finds that “despite the proposed mitigation measures and commitments, the Project would result in significant adverse effects”.
The report lays out a laundry list of those adverse effects, including effects on fish, fish habitat, navigation, and Aboriginal rights. Ecojustice’s commendation of the Prosperity Mine decision comes on the heels of the federal government’s recent weakening of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. Changes to the law negate Ecojustice’s recent win at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Red Chris Mine case (Mining Watch Canada v. Canada (Fisheries and Oceans).
“Prosperity Mine demonstrates the importance of a thorough environmental assessment process in making informed decisions on projects that may do more harm than good”, says Agnolin.