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There’s nothing more beautiful than gold

July 8, 2010

Yesterday, I had written about Taseko Mines LTD. and today I wanted to find out more about this project. Is it really that horrific, and what are the benefits?

The proposed mine already has the go ahead from the BC government, and still needs the approval of the federal government. The mine will drain (Teztan Biny) Fish Lake, and transform it into a tailings pond.

 Benefits: The mine will tap into 13.3 million ounces of gold and 5.3 billion pounds of copper. The project would result in 2,000 direct and indirect jobs, more than $5 billion in combined revenues for the federal and provincial governments and $7 billion in spinoff consumer spending. Click this link to read more.

That’s what Taseko says. The mining company will also build a new lake six kilometres north of this shitty one. I assume it’s a shitty lake because they want to dump crap in it, and they think they can build a better, newer one, much to the chagrin of the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

Teztan Biny is one of 16 lakes that the Canadian government marked for ‘reclassification’ last June, by using a controversial provision under the Fisheries Act known as ‘Schedule Two’ that allows them to redefine any lake as a “Tailings Impoundment Area.” LINK

Chief Marilyn Baptiste of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation, a sub-group of Tsilhqot’in, initiated this action to seek a court injunction against Taseko to stop the project and to protect the lake and its 80,000 Rainbow Trout, unique to the area. The lake is on First Nations traditional territory. Chief Baptiste had this to say:

“In 1864 we had our war leaders protect our territory on the west side – they were after gold then. Now we are looking to protect our territory on the east side. Back then our leaders knew we cannot eat gold. If they go after the gold now, that would destroy our fish and our water.”

I’ve used a lot of information here from this article and website Tsihlqot’in Vow to Protect Teztan Biny (Fish Lake). Which I urge you to check it out if you are tired of apathy and just waiting for the “other shoe to drop off.”

I’ll be contacting the sources to see what’s going on and get some insider info from the First Nations side of things. I’m sure there are other remote non-Native communities up there who have a stake in this as well. I love fishing and to me this is beyond audacious and an egregious misjustice to the Creator’s yummy yummy creations. Not to mention, it just looks damned beautiful up there.

This brings up the James Bay Hydro project and its impact. There are numerous diamond mines and open pit gold mines that are already in the works. So what makes this one different and should we care? This is a mine field of issues pertaining to FN rights and the FN federal relationship.

First Nations excluded from world’s largest conservation agreement

Attawapiskat has their DeBeers mine: The Victor Diamond Mine.

Here’s a link to some hearty opinions on mining and drilling on First Nations territory.

Are the mines a necessary evil? Are the First Nations just getting in the way? Why should people who live in the city care? There are a million questions here and everyone has an opinion. But in the end are diamonds and gold more beautiful than a lake? Maybe so. And that will be our dying legacy.

Or to put this in Toronto perspectives, there was a crowd of 500 gathered at Sorauren Park in
Roncesvalles Village to protest the running of diesel trains through their neighbourhoods.
 The Clean Train Coalition believes 400 trains a day will impact their health and way of life. But on the flipside there is a need for 400 trains a day, which means commuting brings in a whole lot of cash to downtown Toronto. And it’s probably better all those people are in a train and not driving. The Clean Train people want an electric solution.

All I’m trying to do is draw parallels. People don’t want diesel trains in their backyard, and Xeni Gewt’in don’t want a tailings pond that will destroy their way of life in their backyard.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Eva Rose permalink
    July 8, 2010 5:59 pm

    Great post – parallels and perspective. Will people see better?

  2. Chris permalink
    July 8, 2010 11:10 pm

    If they’re going to build a new lake anyway, why don’t they just dump the tailings in there instead and leave Teztan Biny alone?

    Mining has always been a dirty process. I know at least people were remarking on its negative impact in the early modern period, and I know of no reason to think it was any cleaner in antiquity. But this doesn’t mean that it has to be dirty now, or that it must always be. If all of a sudden they were actually responsible for the mess they make, I wonder what would happen.

    Relatedly, I’m always struck that somehow it’s not obviously not okay — er, or more clearly, that it’s not obviously terrible for companies to dump their shit in public land. It would be obviously not okay for me to throw all my garbage over the fence into my neighbour’s back yard, so why is it not obviously not okay for mining companies to dump all their shit in lakes they don’t own?

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