Friday, March 03, 2017

He'll Have To Choose



The Fish Lake Mining Project is Justin Trudeau's moment of truth. He has promised to build a new relationship between his government and Canada's First Nations. Just as the Dakota Access Pipeline has become a do or die moment for American First Nations, Fish Lake has become a defining moment for Canada's Tsilhqot’in Nation. Michael Harris writes:

The New Prosperity Mine — said to be the last major deposit of gold and copper in North America — included turning the pristine lake into a toxic dump site for the proposed mine’s tailings. Even without that outrageous component, the company’s proposal was turned down a second time in 2014 because the feds thought the mine would cause severe environmental damage, harm Tsilhqot’in culture and violate aboriginal rights.

And what Taseko Mines Ltd. proposes would cause all kinds of other environmental damage:

Taseko has asked for permits from the British Columbia government that would allow the company to begin “exploratory drilling”, even though the project doesn’t have federal approval. Here is what exploratory drilling comes down to: 122 drill set holes, 76 kilometres of roads, 367 test pits, 20 kilometres of seismic lines and a 50-man work camp.

For the Tsilhqor'in the lake is sacred ground. For Taseko it's lots of money. And the company has already invested  $130 million there. Christy Clark is on side with the company. But whose side is Justin on?

He'll have to choose.

Image: Wilderness Committee

12 comments:

Lorne said...

If Trudeau's backing away from his commitment to the Grassy Narrows reserve is any indication, Owen, the signs are not good: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/03/02/trudeau-is-letting-my-people-down-by-failing-to-lead-on-solving-our-mercury-crisis-chief.html

Owen Gray said...

It's easy to mouth empty words, Lorne.

The Mound of Sound said...

Gold = arsenic. One of the waste products of gold extraction and on-site processing is arsenic that's dumped into some nearby stream, pond or lake. If this venture is as big as suggested, they'll have a crushing mill by the mine. Arsenic is used to extract gold from the crushed ore as it's circulated through large roller tubs.

Trudeau already has a track record of sacrificing the environment when the resource sector snaps its fingers. Hard to imagine he won't run true to course on this one.

Owen Gray said...

I can't see him finessing this one, Mound. He has to come down on one side or the other.

Anonymous said...

!?

...the company’s proposal was turned down a second time in 2014 because the feds thought the mine would cause severe environmental damage, harm Tsilhqot’in culture and violate aboriginal rights.

If Harper's Conservatives turned this down, then it must have been a BAD steaming pile of 5H!T.

Owen Gray said...

Both snake oil and the waste from gold mining can be bad for your health, !.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

You're right Owen that The Fish Lake Mining Project is Justin Trudeau's moment of truth and he will have to choose. I'm starting to think though, if Trudeau's past decisions are any indication that he thinks of First Nations as being dispensible.

Owen Gray said...

Given recent history, Pam, your skepticism is understandable. We'll have to see how seriously Trudeau takes his promises to the First Nations.

John B. said...

$130 million sunk into this project? If that's the case, they'll get their approvals.

Owen Gray said...

"Too big to fail," John.

Hugh said...

Govt's primary goal seems to be growing the GDP. When debt grows faster than GDP, that's not good.

Owen Gray said...

Growing GDP can pay down debt, Hugh. Stagnant growth and growing debt is a bottomless pit. There's a big difference between consumer debt and invested debt.