Business and mines minister rally in support of gold-copper mine

VANCOUVER – Some of B.C.’s biggest business leaders are urging the federal government to approve a controversial gold and copper mine, despite environmental concerns and a judicial review.

The individuals and groups, including the Vancouver Board of Trade, the Business Council of B.C. and provincial Mining Minister Bill Bennett, gathered in Vancouver Tuesday to vouch for the New Prosperity mine, 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, B.C.

The federal government will decide on the mine within months, while Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO) has launched a judicial review alleging a federal panel used the wrong information to conclude the mine would result in adverse environmental effects.

Chamber president John Winter says the province needs the mine, and the federal government must evaluate the project by considering the social and economic benefits that would be created for B.C.

The project faces vehement opposition from members of local First Nations communities, who argue Fish Lake — considered sacred in their culture — would be damaged by the mine.

This is Taseko’s second environmental review process for the $1.5 billion project, after the mining firm first proposed using the lake as a tailings pond.