Where are the Heavy Metal Studies and Assay Results?

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on July 10th, 2012 8:11am

The following letter was written by Dr. Kelly Orringer, Assistant Professor of General Paediatrics at the University of Michigan Faculty of Medicine. It outlines the problems we face from heavy metals in the air pollution that will be generated by the mine should it be approved. 

It is well documented that the process of mining copper and gold can release heavy metals.  The most common are mercury and arsenic.  Others might include lead, cadmium, uranium, sulfurous oxide and cyanide.  Some are direct biproducts of the substances used in the  production process.  Some are released naturally when the rock is exposed, split, and crushed.  The heavy metals can enter the air as dust. Also, when mixed with water  the toxic materials can enter nearby water sources (lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers).  The surrounding soil can also be contaminated. 

In specific concentrations these heavy metals can cause serious health risks.  Many of them leading to irreversible damage and sometimes death.  Children are particularly susceptible to heavy metal illnesses as are pregnant women.  In many cases the symptoms from exposure do not show up until years after initial contact.  There is a definite cumulative effect with some of the metals.  The body does not release them they just build up over time. 

Therefore, it is imperative that the Environmental Assessment process on the proposed Ajax Mine demand the baseline data on all heavy metals that could potentially be released here.  What are the current levels?  We have already had mines operating in the vicinity (although none within the city limits and only 1.5 kms. from the nearest school!) over the years.  Has there already been a release of such metals into the Kamloops ecosystem?  An assay report from  New Gold Inc. (a much smaller mining operation than Ajax and further removed from the community) shows the presence of mercury and  arsenic.  Are the levels acceptable or dangerous to our health?  When added to what might be coming with  Ajax production do we have a health risk?  The baseline information MUST be gathered before anyone could think about approving this mine.

Up until now KGHM has refused to release any assay results.  Assay materials must be taken from more than one venue of a site to be scientifically valid.  The public deserves this information and should be demanding it.

I am a former resident of Kamloops and still have familly living here. I have hiked, biked and cross-country skied in the area of the  proposed mine site.  As an Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Michigan, I was personally and professionally shocked to learn the this information was not available to Kamloops citizens.  Why aren’t the politicians in the city raising their voices?  

Your children and healthy community are worth more than the short term production of gold and copper for a Polish company.  Shout out  for the studies and the answers!

“You can’t find what you are not looking for.” 
(from The Hole Story 2011)

Dr. Kelly Orringer,
Assistant Professor, General Paediatrics,
University of Michigan,
Faculty of Medicine,
2321 Tall Oaks Dr.,
Ann Arbor Michigan
734 913 8029  


Marg and Tonny Larsen on 2012-07-10 10:57:33

This is so frightening, the damage to our future generations and our ecosystem is astounding!! I personally do NOT want to watch my family suffer through any illness caused by mercury and /or arsenic poisoning!! What are our ELECTED OFFICIALS thinking about!! My guess is dollars NOT our health BUT maybe they should think of the money that will be spent on medical issues if this mine goes through

Joel Graham on 2012-07-10 16:19:15

Here is a comment, come on people its our children,and we can't sell them out ,we have the power of numbers let's stop the mine and its destruction,now !!!

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