We’re at the the Supreme Court of Canada this week with our client MiningWatch Canada to defend public participation in environmental reviews.

The case revolves around the contentious Red Chris mine, an open-pit copper and gold mine proposed for northwestern B.C. The mine would be built adjacent to an area christened by local First Nations the “Sacred Headwaters” – the birthplace of three major salmon-bearing rivers of the Stikine, Nass and Skeena.

The project’s proponent, Imperial Metals, proposes to destroy fish-bearing streams by damming them and using these natural waters to store toxic mine waste. Not only would the project destroy waterbodies used by local residents for fishing, but it risks contaminating the watershed for hundreds of years with toxic mine waste.

More than a year after we filed an application over the proposed Red Chris Mine in northern BC the Federal Court sided with us in September 2007, maintaining that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans cannot scope projects so as to evade a comprehensive study and public participation. In addition to declaring the DFO’s actions unlawful, the court prohibited issuance of any federal permits to the mining company.

In 2008, the Respondents and the government successfully appealed the decision.

The Supreme Court hears our appeal this Friday, October 16th. You can watch the proceedings here, and we’ll keep you posted on the decision.