Tsilhqot’in Chiefs Roy Stump, ?Esdilagh, left, Joe Alphonse, Tl’etinqox and TNG tribal chair and Russell Myers Ross, Yunesit’in and TNG vice tribal chair, at the peaceful protest held Tuesday, July 3, at the entrance to the Farwell Canyon Road at Highway 20, 57 km west of Williams Lake. The Tsilhqot’in Nation set up the camp the evening before to prevent Taseko Mines Ltd. from hauling equipment to Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) area to begin exploratory drilling for its proposed New Prosperity Mine project. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Taseko Mines pursues court injunction against B.C. First Nation for exploratory drilling

Tsilhqot’in Nation held a peaceful protest and stopped Taseko contractors from hauling equipment west of Williams Lake

Taseko Mines Ltd. is seeking an injunction after the Tsilhqot’in Nation blocked the company’s contractors from hauling equipment to do exploratory drilling for its proposed New Prosperity Mine project 185 km southwest of Williams Lake.

On Tuesday, July 2, a flatbed truck with equipment was turned away at around 6 a.m. from travelling on the Farwell Canyon Road off Highway 20.

Members of the Tsilqot’in Nation had set up a peaceful protest camp at the site the evening before.

Finn Conradsen, mine project manager for Taseko met the protesters later that morning and verified with Chief Joe Alphonse, Tshilqot’in National Government tribal chair, that Taseko would not be permitted to bring equipment through.

Read more:

Tsilhqot’in Nation stops Taseko Mines exploratory drilling

The protest camp was taken down by Tuesday evening.

Confirming the company is seeking an injunction, vice-president of corporate affairs Brian Battison told the Tribune a sign has been posted at the corner of Highway 20 and the Farwell Canyon Road.

It notifies the public that Taseko will apply for an injunction in order to permit the company’s employees, contractors and agents to access the areas covered by the notice of work permit issued by the provincial government.

Company lawyers are expected to appear in court on Friday, July 5 to set a hearing date for the injunction application.

“When access to a public road has been illegally blocked, one of the potential solutions is to seek an injunction from the Supreme Court of British Columbia,” Battison said. “Today we have instructedour legal counsel to apply for an injunction to permit us to access our property so the work can be done.”

Speaking from his home at Tl’etinqox First Nation Friday, Chief Alphonse said the Tsilhqot’in will challenge the injunction in court.

“It’s not the first time we’re going to court against Taseko,” he added. “It’s part of the process.”

Alphonse said it will be “virtually” impossible for the mine to ever go through so the exploratory drilling should not happen.

“The reality is if you go through the whole government process, that it’s near impossible for this mine to come to fruition so why are we doing the project?” he said.

“People think the mine has been approved — it has not. There are so many obstacles they would have to go through, even if the Tsilhqot’in were to support them, which we don’t. In the meantime they plan on wreaking havoc in an area that is sensitive to the Tsilhqot’in.”

Five years ago the Tsilhqot’in won an historical case in the Supreme Court of Canada that proved they had rights and title.

“What does having Aboriginal rights and title mean if you cannot have any level of jurisdiction over your territory?” Alphonse said.

“We have to protect our interests. A company like Taseko has to realize this mine will never be. They talk about the amount of financial resources they have spent on this, well sooner or later they are going to have cut their losses. We are not changing our position after 25 years.”

Read more: New agreements reached on Tsilhqot’in title lands



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police incident in Mount Douglas Park leads to road closure

Officers turning cars away, letting hikers go up trails

PHOTOS: Women’s March through downtown Victoria draws crowds of activists, allies

Attendees of all ages carried instruments, posters with empowering messages

Victoria resident lives well despite dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

New Victoria Conservatory music scholarship recognizes long-time Sidney resident

O. Thomas Webb died in Sidney last year after retiring to the community in 1975

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Ice chunk from truck crushes vehicle windshield on Vancouver Island

None injured, but Nanaimo RCMP say there can be fines for accumulations of ice and snow

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Most Read