By Kevin Griffin.
An environmental group says it is making “absolutely no progress” in improving water management conditions and is resigning from an advisory committee for B.C.’ Gibraltar Mine.
The Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society said its focus as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the past eight years has been to protect the health of the Fraser River Watershed. The society said while it disagreed with “direct discharge of tailings effluent into” the Fraser, it was willing to work with the mining company to improve the quality of the water being discharged.
“It is clear after eight years of continuous involvement we have made absolutely no progress,” Bill Lloyd, CCCS chair, said in a letter sent on Sunday to Gibraltar Mine. “Local mine staff have been receptive to our concerns, but senior mine management and the Ministry of Environment have not supported our position.”
Gibraltar Mine is 75 per cent owned by Taseko Mines Ltd., whose headquarters is in Vancouver. The mine, the second-largest open-pit copper mine in Canada, is located northeast of Williams Lake.
The company website says the mine is “located in a mining-friendly and low-risk jurisdiction.” Its replacement value is estimated in excess of $1 billion. Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs for Taseko Mines, said the company was “surprised by the resignation and disappointed” that CCCS will no longer be participating. Battison said the current technical committee was created to review at least once every five years a permit granted in October 2015 that allows for an increase in the discharge of water into the Fraser River.