Despite its high level of risks and impacts, the project was never subjected to the scrutiny of an Independent Review Panel. Instead, in 2011, under the Harper government, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) decided to subject the project to the less-intensive Comprehensive Study process.
In August 2017, while CEAA and BC EAO concluded that the project would have irreversible and significant adverse effects to SSN’s heritage and current use of the lands and resources, it also concluded that the project would not have significant adverse effects to the environment.
These conclusions are simply irreconcilable for the Secwépemc Nation.
CEAA and BC EAO admit that uncertainties are high and confidence levels are low for multiple predicted impacts of the mine project, including for water quality, water users, air quality, health risks, and habitat losses.
The governments of both B.C. and Canada have also recognized in recent years the inadequacies of their respective environmental assessment laws and processes, and the need to fix them to regain public trust and to advance reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and fall in line with international law and obligations.