Thursday, August 29, 2013

BC Hydro and the Site C Dam

BC Hydro inflates demand to justify Site C Dam.

Written by Damien Gillis, Wednesday, 28 August 2013

If you take BC Hydro's recently released draft Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) at face value, you will conclude the following:
  1. BC faces a serious power shortage in the coming decades
  2. In order to meet this gap, we need a combination of conservation, plus the $8 Billion Site C Dam (sure to cost far more in reality)
  3. As a province, we currently need 57,000 gigawatt hours (GWhrs) of electricity per year
  4. BC Hydro should and can supply the massive, energy-intensive Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) industry with public electricity

Read more

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Compact video overview of the Fish Lake / Prosperity mine process.


This video outlines the process up to:

18 March 2013
This short film presents an overview of the various Environmental Assessment processes for the New Prosperity Mine, undertaken from the Provincial to Federal level. The perceived and actual thoroughness of the processes are investigated, with a close examination of the cross-fire of debates that ensue.



In the past couple of days, the Review Panel has found Taseko's second attempt to provide the information requested seriously inadequate.

For more detail and the larger perspective, go to The Campaign to protect Teztan Biny.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Doubts about the economic viability of Taseko Mines’ New Prosperity copper-gold proposal at Fish Lake in British Columbia's Chilcotin region.

A GUEST POST BY STEVE MONK.



As a person who has previously worked in the mining industry in the NWT for 15 years, I have serious doubts about the economic viability of Taseko Mines’ New Prosperity copper-gold proposal at Fish Lake.

The major investor in this project, Franco Nevada, is a royalty investment company that makes large returns on investments and options. They have a loan agreement with Taseko whereby Franco Nevada would be in return for 22% of the gold the mine produces at a fixed price of US $400 per ounce. Any difference between this price and the market price of gold would go to paying off the $350 million loan. (The construction costs were projected at $1.3 billion in 2010.)

It is not apparent that Taseko’s feasibility study reflects this reduced income from the fixed price for 22% of the gold going to Franco Nevada.

According to Taseko's feasibility study, the mine would produce just 0.41 gram-per-tonne of gold, which is considered a very low grade ore body. Franco Nevada Chairman Pierre Lassonde, in an interview on Business News Network, stated that companies who pursue mines with an ore body of less than 0.5 gram-per-tonne of gold may find it hard to make money or generate growth. The ore grade of the copper at the site is also very low at 0.23%. This is one of the lowest grade deposits in the world. It is wholly dependent on high copper prices to survive, not the discovery of more ore.

When the price or grade of ore falls and the revenues cease, the operator and its investors, such as the provincial government, are the losers. However, Mr. Lassonde’s company - the royalty holder - would continue to make profits on royalties and options based on the minerals extracted, even when the mine actually loses money.

It is very important that the scope of the project's economic projections be closely examined to determine whether or not environmental risks could be mitigated in the case of premature mine closure or abandonment. In the company’s eagerness to have this project approved and its recently heightened strategy of persuasion and influence at the local level, it is even more crucial that local residents are made aware of the substandard economic realities of a mine at this location.

Steve Monk is an active participant in Friends of Fish Lake

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

The Rise of the Salmon People

I tended to picture wild salmon as swimming the oceans - and they do. Just as important is that they swim our rivers too - an iconic and important part of the life, and balance for ecosystems and the creatures, people and cultures that grew up with them.

This movie by Jeremy Williams, released in 2011, documents the time a couple of years ago when thousands were galvanized to respond to "a drastic decline in the Fraser River Sockeye Salmon in 2009". It describes the coming together of long-time salmon advocate, Dr. Alexandra Morton, First Nations communities and other concerned groups to protect the salmon. A large rally was later followed by a group canoeing down the lower Fraser River in the “Paddle for Wild Salmon . . . arriving in Vancouver, along with hundreds of supporters, to address the Cohen Commission, a federal judicial inquiry into the collapse of the Fraser Sockeye".


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Controlled burns help restore Cariboo-Chilcotin grasslands




Chilcotin grasslands, near Farwell Canyon

BC grasslands have been shrinking for various reasons, encroaching "civilization" being one of them. Less obvious, because it happens more slowly, is the encroaching of trees. In the era of maximum fire-prevention, fires were extinguished and the trees steadily move into the grasslands. In recent years, realizing this, fire-fighting authorities have allowed selected controlled wildfires to burn themselves out; and deliberately started others, to help the restoration of more natural grassland. This is happening today in the Cariboo-Chilcotin grasslands.

Burns planned to restore Cariboo-Chilcotin grasslands
by BC Forest Fire Info on Thursday, October 18, 2012 at 9:05am ·
WILLIAMS LAKE – Prescribed burns are planned in the Ward Creek, Becher’s Prairie, and Farwell Canyon area west of Williams Lake between now and Nov. 16, 2012, weather conditions permitting.

The burns are planned for ecosystem restoration purposes. Individual burns will be between 10 and 600 hectares in size.


The largest burn, expected to be about 600 hectares, is in the Ward Creek area north of Gang Ranch. This burn will decrease sagebrush and Douglas-fir encroachment on critical California bighorn sheep habitat along the Fraser River.


Historically, the grasslands in the Cariboo-Chilcotin were renewed through frequent, low-intensity ground fires. Such fires prevented tree encroachment, rejuvenated under-story plants and maintained more open grasslands and forests with large trees. The reintroduction of managed, low-intensity ground fires to these grasslands is intended to restore and maintain the traditional grassland plant communities that are natural for these areas.
These fires are part of an ongoing ecosystem restoration program administered by the provincial government in consultation with First Nations, local ranchers, the B.C. Wildlife Federation and the Cariboo-Chilcotin Conservation Society.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Great Bear Rainforest: Art for an Oil-Free Coast

"This past summer, fifty of BCs most celebrated artists took a journey up the coast, into the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. Five-hundred kilometres north of Vancouver is a wild coastline: home to the Spirit Bear and whales, wolf packs and grizzlies, First Nations and coastal communities. With the looming threat of a proposed oil pipeline and hundreds of oil tankers a year, it is a magical place on edge."



Art for an Oil Free Coast - Film Trailer from StrongHeart Productions on Vimeo.

 This is the film trailer for the 22 min documentary, Art for an Oil-Free Coast.  . . . the story of a Raincoast Conservation Foundation expedition into a stunning and remote landscape, weaving together the artists’ work and their emotional response to a people and a region at risk.

Art for an Oil Free Coast (22 min. 2012. Canadian doc.)
Produced by Raincoast Conservation Society & StrongHeart Productions
With Robert Bateman, Ian Reid, Raincoast & friends.
World Premiere Announced: Vancouver International Film Festival, October 3rd 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Help permanently protect B.C.’s spectacular Flathead River Valley

A spectacular and environmentally exceptional area needs protection. This movie records a lot that has already been done - and there's more needed. Watch some of the best wildlife photographers do what they do - and see the Flathead Valley like few have.

"Help permanently protect B.C.’s spectacular Flathead River Valley. We need a National Park in the south eastern one-third of the Flathead and a Wildlife Management Area in the rest of the valley and adjoining habitat - to complete Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and preserve one of North America’s richest wildlife corridors."

Thursday, August 02, 2012

David Suzuki on the Site C dam, population, power and asking critical questions.

David Suzuki is liberated since he resigned from the board of his non-profit. He is speaking his mind and his heart at every opportunity. With all the political bafflegab, it's a pleasure to hear straight talk, based on some real understanding and experience. In this case, he focuses on the Site C dam in northern British Columbia as an example of excess.


We've disconnected ourselves from the real economy and elevated the market as an object of worship. "What's an economy for?" "Are there no limits?"

Coastal first nations are 100% against the Enbridge pipeline. "There are things more important than money." We're out of touch with the planet, largely because of the shift to city life.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More evidence that First Nations leadership is against the Enbridge Pipeline

It's becoming increasingly clear that Enbridge optimism about support is on pretty shaky ground. In case there's any doubt, here's what Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs' Stewart Phillip has to say on their opposition to the Enbridge pipeline:

 CBC Television, July 30, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Stone circle in the Chilcotin makes the news

Client of mine, Chris Czajkowski, is in the news about an unusual feature at Nuk Tessli, her alpine eco-adventure place in the Chilcotin.



What's caught the media attention is the stone circle in Mammary Meadows:


"The circle is 40 paces across.  The most curious thing about it is that the rock of which it is composed is finer-grained, lighter-coloured, and sharper-edged than the rocks either inside or outside the circle." - Chris Czajkowski, Nuk Tessli web site.
  • Two scientists from Canada and Britain were sufficiently intrigued by the "unusual, near circular ring of stones" and its "uncertain origin" that they probed the strange feature and have just published their findings in the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. - Victoria Times Colonist
  • Debris is known to slide down cones of unmelted ice to form a circle on the ground, according to EarthSky, although the circle in British Columbia is unusually large. - Our Amazing Planet
  • The mystery was enough to inspire a British and a Canadian geologist to investigate. The pair's findings have just been published in the latest Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. - Yahoo News
Chris tells me she has an interview with the CBC this afternoon.
Stay in touch via Chris' blog: Wilderness Dweller