WILLIAMS LAKE — The company behind the New Prosperity mine is objecting to a proposal by an aboriginal band to hold a hearing in private with federal regulators about how the proposed site will affect ancestral graves.
Taseko Mines Ltd. says the request for a private meeting submitted by the Xeni Gwet’in last Friday is inappropriate and should have been filed earlier.
The Gwet’in say they are concerned graves near the proposed mine operations will be desecrated if their locations are made public and it wants only those who have signed a confidentiality agreement, including officials from the company, to be able to hear their concerns.
The review panel holds hearings on the road this week as it travels to First Nations communities around the proposed gold-copper mine, which would be located 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake.
Critics fear the billion-dollar mine will destroy culturally significant Fish Lake and they doubt Taseko’s claim that the plan has been revised and the lake will be spared.
Although the New Prosperity mine has previously failed to pass the federal environmental assessment process, the B.C. government approved it in 2010, finding that economic benefits outweigh environmental considerations.