A B.C. cabinet minister says he's alarmed over threats of violence against a proposed gold and copper mine in central B.C.

Randy Hawes, the minister state for mining, says he's heard some First Nations members talking about using shotguns and giving their lives to prevent Taseko's Prosperity Mine project.

He says he understands the spiritual value of the area to First Nations and knows the aboriginal community has concerns about the project, but no society will tolerate threats of violence.

Hawes also says many non-aboriginals in the Williams Lake area desperately want the economic benefits the mine would provide

Meanwhile, the Council of Canadians and MiningWatch Canada have joined calls on the federal cabinet to reject the project, saying it will destroy a pristine lake and contaminate nearby bodies of water.

Earlier, several First Nations leaders and a dozen conservation groups demanded the government respect the ruling of an environmental assessment panel that found the mine would harm the environment and encroach on native rights and title.