Ajax Mine application clears initial screening

KGHM opts to wait until new year for submission
November 20, 2015 5:36 P.M.

KGHM intends to wait until early in the new year to submit its Ajax Mine application to government after clearing preliminary screening through the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office Friday.

Now referring to itself as KAM, KGHM Ajax intends to submit the 18,000-page application/EIS to governments on Jan. 4, 2016, when the entire document is to be released to the public for full review along with plain language summaries and factsheets of key studies.

The regulatory review is but one of the hurdles confronting the copper/gold strip mine proposed near city boundaries.

In September, Stk’emlupsemc of the Secwepemc Nation (SSN) filed their title case in B.C. Supreme Court for lands that KGHM wants to mine. In May, the provincial government revised its assessment of SSN Aboriginal rights and title, finding that SSN holds strong prima facie claims for both in relation to those lands.

As of this week, City council is likely to pass a motion urging the new Liberal government in Ottawa to hit the reset button on the entire regulatory process by switching to a federal full-panel review of the controversial project. Coun. Deiter Dudy presented a motion to that effect on Tuesday.

The project has sown deep and emotional divisions in the city as it has developed over the last several years and there is no public consensus that it should proceed.

As well, the tumbling prices of commodities including copper raises significant questions about the profitibility of the venture, though prices are bound to recover at some point. Two weeks ago, Highland Valley Copper announced layoffs as a direct result of the market slump.

Still, there was excitement at KGHM on Friday.

“We’re excited about having the opportunity to take this next, important step,” said Ajax project manager Clyde Gillespie. “We know that many in the community have been anxiously waiting for the application so they can see the science behind the Ajax project."

Gillespie said he’s extremely pleased with the exhaustive work done by the independent consultants who looked at key environmental, health and social issues.

“We asked these scientists, engineers and research experts to look hard at the Ajax project and identify all the possible impacts or problems this project could have,” he said. “We are pleased that their studies have done so, and as a result, we have been able to design a mine that mitigates impacts to the greatest extent possible while providing maximum benefit to the community.”

The company said there remain tasks to complete before the documents can be submitted. Small revisions will be made to address comments from First Nations and the Ajax project working group. 

Gillespie noted KGHM Ajax could have submitted the Application by mid-December but chose instead to show respect as the Christmas season approaches. Submitting the application officially kicks off a 75-day public commenting period and no one on the management team wanted the submission to interfere with the festive season.

“We felt it was the right thing to do – wait for Christmas to pass before we ask people to turn their attention to the Ajax project’s application.”

There will be a number of open houses and other events held during the 75-day public comment period. The public can comment on the project through the B.C. EAO and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Bill says:
November 21, 2015 12:23pm

Some of us concerned residents of Kamloops for the last 4+ years at the Saturday Farmers Market and other venues, Dr. Moench at the Parkview Lounge; have been showing existing mine caused damage to HEALTH and HOME because of mines not using the Best Methods Available, POOR mine management and LACK of government oversight, and KGHM talks about birds, bugs and bunnies.

The ideas from the Mt. Polley Review of Implementing best available technology (BAT) and best available practices (BAP), including using filtered tailings (dry stack) technology where appropriate appear to be ignored by the BCHydro subsidized corporation, KGHM Ajax, because they cost too much.
These costs are finally paid by the community and taxpayers.
See: Mt. Polley spill, 4, August 2014; Samarco in Brazil 5, November 2015.
18,000 pages vs 2 words "TOO CLOSE"
Who is next?

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Snuffy the SEAL says:
November 21, 2015 07:42am

("The project has sown deep and emotional divisions in the city as it has developed over the last several years and there is no public consensus that it should proceed") and there are a few local, vocal groups that oppose it and most of anything else ever put forward here...right ? Those "deep & emotional divisions" are self-generated by groups such as KRAPPA and the Retired Doctors Re-invented as Enviro / Air Quality internet experts...or an editor personally opposed to the project and perpetuated by an all-too-eager media willing to stir the pot...or am I reading this all wrong ? One of the reasons I "locked horns" with another editor, is because I called into question the notion that they can print whatever they like, with no real checks or balances. We get whatever slant they want an article to take. Many, many examples of this...especially during the last election campaign. The Media is so fond of saying "don't shoot us, we're only the messenger"....but that changed long ago because now they can keep a story alive for whatever time length they want and by the simple admission or omission of a word or two, take whatever path desired. Wonder why more & more people don't trust whatever the media puts out ? Yes, both editors and columnists are entitled to their opinions, if that is what they state but when they use this venue as a vehicle for their personal agenda's, then it's unethical. All people want is a fair and balanced approach....which isn't happening at the present time. Have a nice day.

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BiancaR says:
November 21, 2015 10:24am

Try again, Snuffy. The last survey I saw was that about 47% of decided people were opposed to Ajax - and it was within the margin of error. They may not be a majority against it at this time, but it sure isn't a small number of people. You lose all credibility when you try so hard to spin facts in your favor.

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kim says:
November 20, 2015 08:37pm

This is not responsible journalism but lazy reporting. The more things change..... Ajax and the EA are NOT considering any social impacts and have NOT undertaken a comprehensive health assessment.....good grief their economic ‘assessment’ is just an impact statement and does not reflect reality (eg commodity booms and busts and their multiple taxpayer subsidies) Hopefully Mr. Dudy’s motion will be successful both here and in Ottawa. Kamloops deserves a full panel review. And of course this latest nonsense.... re-branding itself as KAM is just more b.s. .......

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