The British Columbia (BC) Environmental Assessment Office in Canada is proceeding with Taseko Mines’ request to amend the environmental assessment certificate for its $1.5bn New Prosperity gold / copper project in the Cariboo region.

Taseko also plans to file a notice of work (NOW) with the Ministry of Energy & Mines, which will allow it to gather information to advance mine permitting under the British Columbia Mines Act.

The company will work with the six local Tsilhqot’in First Nation bands on the consultative and substantive aspects of the NOW as per the terms mentioned in the 2012 settlement agreement.

"Ownership and development of mineral resources are explicit areas of provincial jurisdiction and responsibility."

Taseko Mines president and CEO Russell Hallbauer said: “Ownership and development of mineral resources are explicit areas of provincial jurisdiction and responsibility, granted under the 1982 Amendments to the Constitution Act 1867.

“The fact that the Government of British Columbia is moving forward with the certificate amendment process indicates the importance it places on the development of the New Prosperity Mine.”

New Prosperity gold / copper porphyry contains 11 million ounces of gold and four billion pounds of copper.

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The mine is expected to produce 250,000oz of gold and 110 million pounds of copper per year for a period of 20 years, once it becomes operational.

In February this year, Taseko filed a civil claim in the BC Supreme Court against the Canadian Federal Government seeking compensation for a decision in 2014 that blocked the project development.

The lawsuit claims the Government of Canada and its agents failed to meet the legal duties that were owed to Taseko and that the decision caused damages to the company.