Economic Impact of Ajax Mine
KGHM Ajax states that it will create 500 jobs during the operation of the mine. If dust and noise from the mine create significant impacts in the City of Kamloops, the population of Kamloops could decline as retired people, students, migratory workers, sports tournament participants and tourists move away or avoid the city. Selected secondary economic impacts could be substantial. Retired people are strong supporters of the Kamloops Symphony and the Thomson Valley Orchestras.
A relative decline in the property values of the neighbourhoods that could be most affected by mine dust and noise (e.g, Iron Mask, Pineview Valley, Aberdeen, Knutsford, Dufferin, and Sahali could shift the property tax burden to other neighbourhoods, unless KGHM Ajax provides sufficient compensation to counter this tax shift.
Kamloops already has a major negative image creating industry, the Domtar pulp mill, which due to poor planning was not constructed out of town. An open pit mine on the south-west edge of the city would mean that a substantial part of the city would be located between these two industries.
Highly productive grassland that supports several family-owned ranches likely will be destroyed by the mine. Several other ranches downwind may suffer from dust damage to forage and grazing land, and a reduction in irrigation water.
Goose Lake will be destroyed by the mine. Highly used Jacko Lake may be either rendered inaccessible, unusable or destroyed by the mine operations.
An increase in particulate matter (dust) from the mine in the City of Kamloops could result in increased health problems, thereby increasing medical costs.
Dust falling on the city from the mine could also have negative impacts on backyard vegetable gardens and fruit trees, thereby decreasing the ability of Kamloops residents to be more sufficient in local food production.
Increased sedimentation in Peterson Creek from the mine due to sudden and severe storm events could result in the underground culverts for the creek in South Kamloops becoming clogged. Removal of this sediment could be costly to the City of Kamloops taxpayers. In the extreme, blogged culverts could result in flooding in South Kamloops, and possibly interfere with the CP Rail mainline.
A failure of the massive tailings pond would cause a catastrophic flood down Peterson Creek, through the city center, and into the Thompson River.
If groundwater in Kamloops, some of which is directed into the Kamloops storm sewer system, is contaminated from the mine, this could result in the requirement for the City of Kamloops installing a costly water treatment plant for this contaminated water before it can be discharged into the Thompson River.
The Ajax mine is a low-grade copper deposit. Copper prices are cyclical in nature. When copper prices decline, this mine, like many others, is susceptible to shut-down (commonly called care and maintenance). If the mining company cannot afford the cost of care and maintenance, the taxpayers typically pay this cost.