TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Vancouver-based Taseko Mines has submitted a final revised project description for its Prosperity gold/copper project, and is hoping for federal government approval for the mine, the company said late on Monday.
Then Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced in November that the project would not be approved because of environmental concerns about damage to a lake and streams, despite the fact that it had already received the green light from the British Columbia government.
The government said that the company could submit a revised plan, which it did in February, after which officials requested more information.
The new outline for what the company is calling the 'New Prosperity' project, aims to tackle the government's and local First Nations' objections to the original plan, Taseko said.
One of the main issues was a plan by the company to turn an existing lake into a tailings facility, and the revised project “preserves Fish Lake and limits the impact to the environment”, the company said.
While the use of Fish Lake for tailings was the only viable option when the project was initially studied a few years ago, higher copper and gold prices today mean that
The decision to preserve the lake adds $300-million in capital and operating expense, CEO Russell Hallbauer said.
The Prosperity project has reserves of 7.7-million ounces of gold and 3.6-billion pounds of copper.
A 2007 feasibility study on the project outlined a 70 000-t/d mine and concentrator facility with an average yearly 108-million pounds of copper production and 247 000 oz of gold production.
Taseko already operates the Gibraltar mine in British Columbia, where it is increasing capacity to 180-million pounds a year of copper, and adding a new molybdenum recovery facility.