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Canadian Tribes Fight Gold Mining Project

VANCOUVER, B.C. (CN) - Native bands have sued Taseko Mines and a slew of federal and provincial government ministries to halt the Prosperity gold and copper mine near the Northern British Columbia community of Williams Lake.

Members of the Xeni Gwet'in and Tsilhqot'in Nations claim the proposed open pit mine will have a production expectancy of 20 years, and its construction "entails the complete and permanent destruction" of Teztan Biny Lake, an abundant source of trout the bands have relied upon for centuries.

"Representatives of Taseko have stated that the Prosperity Project requires the destruction of Teztan Biny and that from Taseko's perspective, there is no viable alternative for the Prosperity Project to proceed," the complaint states.

If the provincial and federal governments allow the project to go ahead, plaintiffs say it unconstitutionally strip them of their Aboriginal title rights to fish and hunt on the land, and strip the land of its "cultural, ecological and spiritual integrity."

The bands are represented in state court by Jack Woodward.

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