The former project manager of KGHM-Ajax is suing the company for wrongful dismissal.
Clyde Gillespie, who was dismissed as the company’s top executive in Kamloops in May after playing a pivotal role in the project for two years, has filed a civil claim for damages and costs.
When Gillespie was let go, the company said the move was necessary to bring about a change in leadership. That was after Gillespie was called upon to dismiss seven other Kamloops employees of the mining firm, some of whom were later rehired.
Chris Wild, hired to succeed Gillespie in June, said his predecessor had done a wonderful job but that the company had to move in a different direction.
Wild has lived in Kamloops for more than a dozen years and stressed the importance of those roots in advancing the project.
Gillespie and his wife relocated to Kamloops from Spokane, Wash., so that he could take on the role of guiding the Ajax Mine proposal into operation. In the suit, he claims that the KGHM dismissal has left him high and dry without the ability to find new work or leave Canada.
He was hired in 2014 as project development manager and was promoted the following year as chief project manager. He was still in the process of applying for permanent residency when he was fired.
Gillespie’s dismissal occurred a month after KGHM withdrew from community benefit negotiations with the City of Kamloops, a sudden move that took Mayor Peter Milobar and City council by surprise.
At the time, Gillespie blamed the move on councillors who have taken a firm stand against the mine. Two weeks later, the two parties announced a return to negotiations, saying they’d found common ground.