Along with the recent B.C. Supreme Court decision to send the Pacific Booker Minerals (PBM) Morrison mine project back to the province for reconsideration, came a 30-day window for the province to challenge the court’s Dec. 9, 2013 judgement.
That window closed last week without the province appealing the decision.
“The court decision stated that Pacific Booker did not receive adequate ‘procedural fairness’ because they were not provided with the opportunity to respond to the final recommendation from the executive director,” said Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett.
“Government has decided to not appeal this decision and to provide the company with the opportunity to respond to the executive director’s recommendation.”
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad was in Burns Lake recently for an audience with Lake Babine Nation (LBN) band council (see Lakes District News Jan. 1, 2014 Lake Babine reaffirms Pacific Booker Minerals rejection). The better part of that visit was a discussion surrounding LBN’s stated and continued opposition to the proposed copper/gold mine project.
Although Rustad said he had no say in the final decision the province may make, he hoped to bring a better understanding of LBN’s position back to the ministers responsible for the decision.
The main concern for LBN surrounds the construction of a tailings pond approximately two kms from Morrison Lake, a salmon spawning ground held by LBN to be an important food source and one of the few remaining unsullied bodies of water in their traditional territories.
Lake Babine Nation has a case for claim to aboriginal title over the area, something which, LBN Chief Wilf Adam emphasized, would be pursued in the courts if the province reversed its earlier decision to reject the proposal.
Erik Tornquist, PBM director, said they are waiting for the province to provide further direction on when another application must be submitted.
This time, Tornquist added, “[PBM] and interveners will be entitled to be provided with a copy of the recommendations, if any, sent to the Ministers and will be entitled to provide written response to the recommendations in advance of a further decision.”
The original decision to reject the Morrison mine project was done after the executive director recommended the province not approve the project, despite the B.C. environmental assessment agency having given the project a conditional green light.