Governments Ignoring Public Concerns about Proposed Ajax Mine

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on August 20th, 2014 11:10am

News Release

The Kamloops Area Preservation Association (KAPA) is asking the federal and provincial governments to correct major deficiencies in the environmental assessment for the proposed open-pit Ajax copper-gold mine on the edge of the City of Kamloops.

In a letter signed by KAPA’s lawyer, Jenny Biem, of Woodward and Company, governments are being warned that failure to provide opportunities for the public to participate in the assessment process contravenes the promise to “give full and fair consideration to all interests” affected by the proposed mine.  An addendum attached to the letter documents many deficiencies in the assessment process, many centering on the lack of disclosure of the many toxic substances that will be released from the mine rock.

“The Mount Polley disaster has been a wake-up call for the citizens of Kamloops,” according to KAPA spokesperson, John Schleiermacher.  “KGHM Ajax has been telling us that they have moved the proposed tailings impoundment farther from the city, but in fact, they have moved it into the headwaters of Peterson Creek, which emerges from a steep, narrow canyon and flows right through downtown Kamloops before entering the salmon-rich Thompson River,” Schleiermacher points out. The previous mine proposal planned to locate the tailings in a dry-stack facility within the City of Kamloops boundaries and was met with significant public opposition

“The mine will only be around for 23 years.  The tailings sludge and massive piles of waste rock will be perched like a time-bomb on the hills above Kamloops forever,” Schleiermacher believes.  Any failure of the proposed Ajax wet tailings pond would subject hundreds of people to significant risk due to potential a massive debris flow. What’s even more insulting,” Schleiermacher contends, “is that the governments won’t even give us an opportunity to formally ask questions or comment on the new mine proposal.”

“What’s even more insulting,” Schleiermacher contends, “is that the government has just announced a suspension of the environmental assessment for the proposed Morrison mine until the investigation by the Mount Polley review panel is completed.  In Kamloops, a tailings impoundment three times larger than Mount Polley is being proposed.  Why isn’t the government suspending finalizing the information requirements for the Ajax project until the Mount Polley investigation is concluded?”

“In our view, the regulatory regime for the mining industry is broken in this province.  The Ajax proposal is an opportunity for the governments to show the public that it has learned from the Mount Polley disaster, and it can begin with an expert review and public hearings for the Ajax mine,” Schleiermacher concludes.

Major Deficiencies in the Environmental Assessment Process for the Proposed Ajax Mine

Letter from Jenny Biem, of Woodward and Company


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