05/09/2012 03:35 EDT | Updated 07/09/2012 05:12 EDT

Ottawa names panel to review Taseko's New Prosperity mine project

OTTAWA - Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent has named the three-member panel that will review Taseko Mines' (TSX:TKO) controversial New Prosperity mine project in B.C.

Bill Ross, a professor emeritus at the University of Calgary in the Faculty of Environmental Design, will serve as chairman.

Also sitting on the panel will be George Kupfer, a consultant and water management expert, and Ron Smyth, former chief geologist of the British Columbia Geological Survey.

Taseko is looking to build an open pit gold-copper mine approximately 125 km southwest of Williams Lake, B.C.

The company had made an earlier application that was approved by the B.C. government, but later rejected by the federal government in 2010 because the company wanted to drain Fish Lake for use as a tailings pond.

Taseko has since reworked its plan and added an extra $300 million to address environmental concerns and promised to save Fish Lake.

The panel named Wednesday will use the work done in the first review as part of its assessment, including a 2009 environmental impact statement and the previous panel's report in addition to a new environmental impact statement and other information.

A final report to the minister is expected within 235 days after the company submits its environmental impact statement.