The panel sought guidance from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency last week regarding what should be looked at in the wake of federal changes to the environmental assessment process.
An agency official says the panel should follow the definition set out in its terms of reference, and not the narrower definition in the revised federal law.
The billion-dollar New Prosperity mine proposed by Taseko Mines Ltd. (TSX:TKO) was rejected by a previous review panel.
The company revised the plan for the mine near Williams Lake, B.C., and a new environmental assessment got under way in 2011 — then the rules changed.
Opponents of the project wanted the broader definition applied because they fear that under the new rules the effects on grizzly bears and other wildlife will not be reviewed.