On August 4, 2014, a mine waste dam in British Columbia, Canada breached, releasing 24.4 million cubic meters of mine waste (or tailings) sludge into the Fraser River watershed, a group of lakes and rivers that bear salmon and sustain the livelihoods of local First Nation communities.
This report assesses the tailings dam designs at four mines in B.C. in light of the recommendations of the Mount Polley Expert Panel to examine whether regulatory agencies are applying best available technology to reduce the risk of catastrophic tailings dam failures, and where they aren’t, if changes could be made to do so.
A few politicians in British Columbia may still be pushing for the mine that would destroy Little Fish Lake and threaten Fish Lake with contamination without the consent of First Nations. But some companies have doubts and concerns about Taseko Mines and its "Prosperity" project.
Credit Suisse downgraded their investment rating for Taseko Mines this week based in part on the prospects for "Prosperity." The bank noted that the "project is likely to require extensive review and consultation prior to environmental approval, and we believe this could take several years." Credit Suisse downgraded Taseko Mines from "Neutral" to "Underperform."
Earlier this month, groups also called on Credit Suisse to decline any Taseko financing requests for the mine at Fish Lake. Earthworks joined MiningWatch Canada in presenting the concerns of the Tsilhqot'in and others about the mine project. The groups wrote to Credit Suisse to explain that financing of the mine would cause unacceptable reputational risk for the bank.
Credit Suisse is not the only company taking a critical look at Prosperity. Rideau, a Canadian maker of gold medals, is "publically opposing the Prosperity mine" and wrote to Canadian officials to express the company's concerns and objections to the project.