Blue Gold expresses the Tsilhqot’in peoples’ unanimous rejection of Taseko Mines Ltd.’s proposal to drain Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) in order to stockpile mining waste.
“It is not possible for us to agree to the destruction of the land that sustains us.” ~ Chief Marilyn Baptiste, Xeni Gwet’in First Nation.
This film was made possible through generous donations by several organizations, including Donner Canadian Foundation, Friends of the Nemaiah Valley and Small Change Fund.
The Tsilhqot’in Nation holds proven Aboriginal hunting and trapping rights in the area where Taseko wants to build its mine. Taseko’s plan requires completely draining Fish Lake (which sits at the headwaters of the Taseko River and ultimately the Fraser River, 600 km north of Vancouver, BC) and filling it with waste rock. The company intends to create a reservoir to hold the 80,000+ trout. Much of the watershed to the south including Nabas (Little Fish Lake) would be used as a tailings storage facility. This is all in an area held as sacred by the Tsilhqot’in.
In the place of gorgeous, fish-bearing lakes in a pristine sub-alpine ecosystem, Taseko will leave behind an estimated 700,000,000 tons of tailings and waste materials, including arsenic, mercury, lead, cadmium and other toxic metals. These toxic creations will permanently scar the area, destroy habitat for major species like grizzlies, moose and deer, and potentially contaminate the largest wild salmon run in North America (the Fraser River).
Recent changes to Canada’s Fisheries Act allow for the destruction of freshwater bodies – lakes and rivers can now be used as toxic dump sites for mining corporations. Teztan Biny is just one of many lakes slated for destruction.
We are now fighting to convince the federal environmental review panel which must decide on whether to allow Taseko to proceed of the significant and irrefutable impacts the project will have. The permanent destruction of the lake would be an unfathomable cultural and spiritual loss to the Tsilhqot’in people. And it cannot be compensated ecologically.
The Tsilhqot’in people need moral encouragement and financial support. Let’s raise our voices against the destruction of our fresh water, for the future of all Canadians. Should you wish to donate to support the Tsilhqot’in, please visit R.A.V.E.N. (Respecting Aboriginal Values & Environmental Needs), a non-profit charitable organization, at www.raventrust.com.