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"The Tsilhqot’in Nation stands united in its sacred commitment to our ancestors and to our future generations – we will honour and we will protect the lands that give us life."

(TNG Nov. 2011, on the one year anniversary of the rejection of "Prosperity" Mine, Round One)

Fish Lake - Prosperity Mine

May, 9th, 2012.  Today the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency released the names of the 3 Panel members for the "New Prosperity" Mine hearings.  The names and bios of those appointed are HERE.

The final Terms of Reference and Guidelines are also now available.

In November, 2011, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency accepted Taseko Mine's second attempt to get the proposed open pit gold and copper mine in the Fish Lake/Teztan Biny area accepted by the federal government. We call this Round Two.

Round Two:

In June 2011, TML submitted a reworked proposal to the CEAA. Now, Taseko says they don’t need to drain the lake after all. The catch is that this “new” proposal (similar to Option 2 in TML's initial CEAA application) was rejected by both Taseko and the CEAA Panel in round one as being environmentally worse than draining the lake. Taseko's vice-president of engineering, Scott Jones, stated: "What happens to the water quality in Fish Lake, if you try to preserve that body of water with the tailings facility right up against it, is that over time the water quality in Fish Lake will become equivalent to the water quality in the pore water of the tailings facility, particularly when it’s close."

Furthermore, at the end of the proposed life of the mine in 21 years, 50% of the gold and copper will still be in the ground, much of it under Fish Lake. At that point, Fish Lake will have to be destroyed to get at this ore, and then this will become a 33 year mine as Scott Jones said last year: "As commodity prices increase, as the potential pit increases, it increases out, radially out towards the lake. So that as commodity prices increase... you reach a point where you actually impact Fish Lake and you lose Fish Lake....And then maximizing the extraction of the resource, you've lost the lake." ~ Scott Jones, V.P. Engineering, TML.

In spite of that, in November, 2011, the federal government agreed to let this “new” proposal go to another full environmental review panel hearing.

Once again, the Tsilhqot'in people and the Xeni Gwet'in (who have proven rights to this territory according to Justice Vickers ruling of 2007) must continue to fight. Once again, Fish Lake/Teztan Biny and Little Fish Lake/Nabas are at risk. Once again, funds must be raised to get the best technical evidence possible put before the new review Panel. The Panel needs to hear the very best expert and scientific and legal arguments we can muster. The Tsilhqot’in and Xeni Gwet’in people do not have access to this kind of funding.

With your support, we did it once and we can do it again. Please consider making a donation to save Fish Lake/TeztanBiny forever.


Round One:

FONV has been in the forefront of environmental organizations fighting this proposal; we have worked to educate the public and politicians at all levels about this open pit gold and copper mine that has always been opposed by the local area residents and, now, by thousands of Canadians.

In 2010, The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency created the independent 3 person federal review Panel to hear submissions from proponents and opponents of this project. FONV took an active role in the hearings and funded a report by economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer ( and bear biologist Wayne McCrory RBio. (

We also raised significant funding for other technical experts to attend the hearings and for the production of the video "Blue Gold: The Tsilhqot’in Fight for Teztan Biny" . The film is told entirely in the powerful and moving voices of the Tsilhqot’in’ peoples .

On July 2, 2010, the Panel issued their findings:

The Panel has assessed the environmental effects of the project and matters relating to Aboriginal rights or title and has concluded that the project would result in significant adverse environmental effects on:
  • Fish and fish habitat;
  • Navigation; 
  • Current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by First Nations and on cultural heritage; and 
  • Certain potential or established Aboriginal rights or title.
The Panel also concluded that the project, in combination with past, present and reasonably foreseeable future projects would result in a significant adverse cumulative effect on:
  • Grizzly bears in the South Chilcotin region; and
  • Fish and fish habitat.
Furthermore, "The Panel has determined that the loss of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and Nabas areas for current use activities, ceremonies, teaching, and cultural and spiritual practices would be irreversible, of high magnitude and have a long term effect on the Tsilhqot'in" [Report, p. 203].  The Panel confirmed that "the island in Teztan Biny (Fish Lake), which would be destroyed by the mine waste storage area, is a place of spiritual power and healing for the Tsilhqot'in."

In November, 2010, then Environment Minister Jim Prentice, gave “Prosperity” Mine the thumbs down, calling the Panels’ report, “scathing” and “probably the most condemning I have ever read”.

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