B.C. pitches more mining investment

Mines minister pitches B.C. mining to Toronto investors, but still struggles with aboriginal opposition to major projects

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett (centre)

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett made a pitch to Toronto-based mining companies to invest in B.C. Tuesday, after pressing Ottawa for approval of one of the mine projects being opposed by local aboriginal people.

It was Bennett’s second trip to Ottawa in as many months to seek federal cabinet approval of the New Prosperity copper and gold mine near Williams Lake. Bennett said in an interview from Toronto Tuesday he expects to have an answer by the end of February.

Proponent Taseko Mines has filed a court action to protest the results of the federal environmental review, which the company says did not recognize the new mine design’s use of a lined tailings pond located away from Fish Lake. Bennett wouldn’t comment on the court action, except to say it is not yet resolved.

“We have tailings ponds that are constructed that do not leach into adjacent watercourses, and that’s the central concern here from the federal panel,” Bennett said. “So it’s been our position that the mine could actually be built in such a way as to not contaminate Fish Lake.”

Bennett rang the opening bell at the Toronto stock exchange and had lunch with 50 mining and investment executives, promoting the projects that have proceeded and the B.C. government’s efforts to open more.

Production is to start this year at Red Chris, a $500 million copper and gold mine near Dease Lake expected to employ 750 people. The Roman coal mine near Tumbler Ridge is also set to start up this year, with 375 employees.

The Mount Milligan copper-gold mine northwest of Prince George started production in September, bringing the total operating mines to 19.

Red Chris is proceeding with the co-operation of the Tahltan Nation, which signed a shared decision-making deal with the B.C. government in March of 2013. With the BC Hydro grid being extend to their remote northwest B.C. territory, the Tahltan Central Council was seeing 250 exploration applications a year.

More than 60 coal licence applications were placed under a one-year suspension in December in the Klappan region, after the Tahltan objected to development work for a coal mine in the headwaters of the Nass, Skeena and Stikine Rivers.

Tahltan Central Council president Annita McPhee called the suspension a “temporary reprieve,” the first step to a protection plan for the Klappan.

“We will continue to resist any industrial development there like this Arctos project that threatens to destroy our land and culture,” McPhee said.

Bennett said the suspension is to deliver on an election promise to develop protection for the area, which the Tahltan call the Sacred Headwaters.

The B.C. government paid $20 million to Shell Canada to cancel disputed coalbed gas leases in the region in 2012.

But the government won’t do the same for the only approved coal mine project in the Klappan, Fortune Minerals’ Arctos Anthracite project, which the Tahltan oppose. Bennett emphasized that the suspension is temporary.

 

Just Posted

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

First court date in Chilliwack for man accused of murdering Belgian tourist

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance Wednesday

Another successful year for Chilliwack’s ‘We Got Your Back’ backpack program

Sponsored by local businesses, program stocks backpacks with school supplies for students in need

Group forms in Hope to respond to homelessness, trauma and addictions

Homelessness Action Response Table (HART) full of local, regional, provincial movers and shakers

Watch out for Pavement Patty: Drivers warned outside B.C. elementary school

New survey reveals unsafe school zones during 2018 back-to-school week

Horvat leads Canucks to 4-3 shootout victory over Kings

Vancouver dumps L.A. in NHL pre-season contest

Update: Search called off for missing plane between Edmonton and Chilliwack

Search efforts were concentrated along the Highway 5 corridor between Valemount and Kamloops

VIDEO: Woman files complaint over treatment of cat with two broken legs

Ariel Johnston of Abbotsford says her pet was sent home without pain medication

Why Whistler for ski jumping in 2026? Calgary proposal gets pushback

Calgary 2026 proposes re-using the 2010 ski jumping venue Whistler for that sport and nordic

VIDEO: Hundreds line highway as family brings home body of B.C. teen

Northern B.C. showed their support by lining Hwy 16 as Jessica Patrick’s body returned to Smithers.

Despite progress, threat of 232 tariffs dominates NAFTA negotiations

Any deal is seen to require congressional approval before Dec. 1 to survive new Mexican government

B.C. MP Todd Doherty receives award for saving man who collapsed on a plane

Conservative MP was flying from Vancouver to Prince George, B.C., in June last year

Alleged border jumper from Oregon facing 2 charges after police chase in B.C.

Colin Patrick Wilson charged with dangerous operation of motor vehicle, flight from a peace officer

Most Read