On November 2, 2010 Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced that federal authorities would not grant required federal approvals for the proposed Prosperity mine near Williams Lake in interior British Columbiadue to the potential for adverse environmental impacts associated with the project. The Prosperity project underwent environmental assessments under provincial legislation and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The CEAA review process involved a Federal Review Panel and public hearing. In making its decision, the Government of Canada took into consideration the conclusions of the report of the Federal Review Panel, and agreed with the Panel’s conclusions about the environmental impacts of the project. The Panel released its report on July 2, 2010, concluding 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 provincial environmental assessment of the Prosperity Mine Proposal pursuant to the Environmental Assessment Act had concluded in January 2010 that, with the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures, the Prosperity project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. In his decision denying federal approvals, the Environment Minister effectively rejected these findings. Proponent Taseko Mines is currently evaluating options that would permit the project to move forward and meet the criteria that the Federal government deems appropriate.