VANCOUVER, Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - On December 2, 2011 Justice Grauer of the BC Supreme Court suspended two of Taseko's work permits for a period of up to 90 days to allow time for the Court to hear a judicial review brought by the Tsilhqot'in Nation. The judicial review challenges the adequacy of the consultation performed by the British Columbia provincial government before the permits were issued.
In making his decision Justice Grauer made it clear that the New Prosperity project represented significant value and opportunity for British Columbia and that the case has nothing to do with whether or not the project should proceed, and that he expects the authorized work will be done after the judicial review is heard.
When Taseko was granted legal permission to undertake this routine exploration work on the New Prosperity site the Tsilhqot'in Nation filed for a judicial review challenging the granting of that permission alleging the Provincial government had failed to adequately consult with them as required by law.Taseko, while attempting to undertake the work it was duly authorized to perform, was obstructed from doing so by First Nation individuals. Wishing to avoid a confrontation, the Company sought the assistance of the Court and filed an injunction application to prohibit further obstruction of its authorized work. In response the Tsilhqot'in Nation filed their own injunction application seeking to prohibit the Company from proceeding with its work pending the outcome of the judicial review. Decision Justice Grauer has suspended Taseko's permits for up to 90 days to allow the Tsilhqot'in Nation to have the judicial review heard on an expedited basis during this 90 day period. He also encouraged the respective parties to meet and talk about the nature of the work to be done and any concerns related to it. Taseko is receptive to engaging in those talks. Justice Grauer found that the conduct of the Company was entirely lawful at every point. He was also critical of the individuals who obstructed the work of the Company, and awarded the Company court costs, to be paid forthwith. Commentary by Taseko Taseko will be carefully reviewing the written reasons of Justice Grauer when they are made available later this week and will take the steps it considers most prudent to secure the balance of the approvals necessary to put New Prosperity into production as soon as possible. Through no fault of its own Taseko is caught in the middle of a dispute between the provincial government and the Tsilhqot'in Nation concerning the role of the Tsilhqot'in Nation in land use decisions. The judicial review will focus on whether the consultation process conducted by the provincial government in relation to the permits was appropriate. The Company's assessment is that the government did conduct itself appropriately, and expects that issue will soon be decided in the judicial review.