The Aftermath; Cleaning up the Mess

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on June 19th, 2012 1:09pm

It has been suggested that the reclamation/remediation of a mine site is always effective, and security deposits are applied to the cost of reclamation. If only that were true! It is difficult to understand how the pristine grasslands of the proposed Ajax mine site would look like anything but a massive moonscape should the mine go ahead.


Reclamation/remediation of 6000 acres is a long term process. It would take decades after the mine had closed before the massive rock piles and huge tailings facility had any ground cover if, in fact, anything ever grows on those areas. You only have to look at other mining operations to verify the fact that, all too often, mining activity can cause massive damage to the environment, and adverse health effects to those who live within the range of those environmental impacts. Also, there have been instances where the taxpayer, not the company, has payed the cost of the clean-up. (See articles " Giant Arsenic Mess" and "Kam Kotia Disaster, Timmins, Ontario").) It is therefore critical that the scope of the Ajax environmental assessment includes not only the environmental impacts of the proposed mine on the mine site itself and beyond its perimeters, but also the socio-economic impacts. 

Should the mine be approved the provincial government will probably address the issue of reclamation. The government has discretionary authority under the B.C. Mines Act (section 12) to require the establishment of a reclamation fund. This raises the following questions:
  • what would be an appropriate dollar figure for a bond to be posted by the proponent? 
  • what degree of reclamation of the site would the government deem acceptable? 
  • will the government should also require the establishment of a compensation fund  to be used to cover adverse socio-economic impacts caused by the mine? This fund would cover such things as (but not limited to):
  • environmental damage to water flows or pollution leaked into Peterson Creek, Kamloops Lake and the Thompson River. 
  • health effects. The mine is certain to release quantities of dust into the air which will be blown over Kamloops. Dust causes respiratory diseases.
  • the costs of air monitoring on a continuing basis both of the Kamloops air shed in general, and at schools, the hospital, seniors residences etc.
  • damage to the infrastructure of Kamloops. This could be significant given the existing water and land slippage problems in Aberdeen.
  • declines in real property values. There is already clear evidence the the closer residential properties are to a surface mine site (e.g. open pit) the greater the decline in property value. And the greater the decline in property values the lower the property tax revenue from those units. (See article  "Impact of Surface Mining On Residential Property Values")


In summary, the impact of the proposed mine could be widespread, not just limited to the mine site. Should the government decide to approve the Ajax Mine, the citizens of Kamloops, Knutsford and the ranchers in the area will be left to deal with any adverse effects at their own expense, unless the government takes precautionary action such as been suggested above. The government must address all of these issues when considering whether or not to approve the KGHM Ajax mine proposal. The last thing that should happen is that both the city and individual property owners will be faced with fighting KGHM over compensation for dealing with adverse effects created by the mine. KGHM has very deep pockets and can well afford a battalion of lawyers.


There are currently no comments on this blog post.

Post a Comment