Taseko Mines Limited v. Minister of Environment, et al.

(Federal Court) (Civil) (By Leave)


Environmental law - Environmental assessment, Administrative law, Judicial review - Environmental law — Environmental assessment — Administrative law — Judicial review — Duty of fairness — Aboriginal law — Duty to consult — Whether the test for judicial review was correctly determined — Whether the duty of fairness can vary at different stages of a single statutory process —Whether the possibility of prejudice associated with a violation of the right to be heard was correctly determined — Whether the duty of fairness interacts with the duty to consult First Nations?.


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Taseko Mines Ltd. wishes to develop an open pit gold and copper mine — known as the New Prosperity Mine — southwest of Williams Lake, British Columbia. The mine site is within the traditional territory of the Tsilhqot’in peoples. The proposed mine undertook both provincial and federal environmental assessments to advance the New Prosperity mine. At the end of the federal environmental assessment, a review panel issued a report. The review panel was not satisfied with Taseko’s submissions on the potential seepage of toxic water and Taseko’s proposal to deal with mediation. The Minister of the Environment and Governor in Council subsequently decided, pursuant to section 52 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, S.C. 2012, c. 19, that Taseko’s proposed New Prosperity mine was likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects, and that those effects were not justified. Taseko challenged the review panel’s report along with the Minister of the Environment and Governor in Council’s decisions. Both applications for judicial review were dismissed by the Federal Court as no breach of procedural fairness was found. Appeals of both judicial review applications were subsequently dismissed.