Environmental Impact of the Ajax Mine

The Ajax mine will impact 2,500 hectares, most of which is the finest low elevation grasslands in Canada.

Goose Lake and environs will be completely destroyed and turned into a massive tailings pond. A failure of the tailings pond dam would cause a catastrophic flood down Peterson Creek , into the City of Kamloops, and into the Thompson River.. Jacko Lake, one of the most important and productive fishing lakes in the B.C. Interior, will likely be totally destroyed, either by drainage into the adjacent open pit, or by the effects of blasting and particulate matter from mine operations.  Does anyone really believe that the lake, which will be encroached upon by the rim of a 1,600 foot deep open pit, will not drain into the pit during the 23 year mine life?

Open pit mines, especially in arid and windy areas, are major sources of particulate matter, commonly known as DUST.  The composition of this dust will depend on the chemical composition of the ore and waste rock, and the chemicals used in blasting and ore processing.  According to the 2009 Assessment Report for the Ajax Deposit, measureable levels of aluminum, arsenic, manganese, chromium, strontium, and uranium are found in the ore and waste rock.  KGHM Ajax’s Project Description is silent on the types of chemicals it will be using in ore processing and blasting.

The following species found, or thought to be, in the project area are listed as ‘endangered’, ‘special concern’, or ‘threatened’: American Badger; Burrowing Owl; Flammulated Owl; Fringed Myotis; Great Basin Gopher Snake; Great Basin Spadefoot; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Long-Billed Curlew; Monarch; Peregrine Falcon; Rubber Boa; Short-eared Owl; Spotted Bat; Western Painted Turtle; Western Rattlesnake; Western Screech-Owl; Williamson’s Sapsucker; Western Toad.

The mine is located in the Cherry Creek and Peterson Creek watersheds, part of the Thompson River system.  The Thompson River is major habitat for Salmon, Steelhead, and Trout, including being the migratory route for the Adams River Sockeye run, the largest of its kind in the world.  Leachate and particulate matter from the mine entering the Thompson River system may have detrimental impacts on this resource.

According to pilots and ranchers, winds in the mine area are predominantly southwest.  The City of Kamloops, population 90,000, is located downwind, and downslope from the mine.  Requests to KGHM Ajax to release the meteorological data that the company says it has been collecting since November 2006 in the project area (page 30, Project Description) have been rejected by the company.

KGHM Ajax claims that the ore it will be mining is not acid generating (page 43, Project Description), even though the 2009 Preliminary Assessment Technical Report issued by Abacus Mining & Exploration Corp. for the Ajax project states: “Abacus is proposing the mining and processing of 60,000 t/d of a fine-grained porphyrtic hornblende diorite containing copper-bearing chalcopyrite resource material located in the Kamloops area of BC.”  Calcopyrite is a sulfide mineral and sulfide minerals are acid generating.  The technical reference KGHM Ajax bases this claim on is listed in the Project Description as: “Golder. 2010. Technical memorandum re: preliminary snapshots of the thickened disposal raising. From: Irwin Wislesky, Golder Associates Ltd.”  KGHM Ajax has not released this report so it can be subjected to scientific scrutiny. Why?

NOISE is constant from a 24 hour a day mine that will be operating conveyer belts, four crushing and grinding facilities; drilling and blasting on a daily basis, employing a fleet of trucks and other heavy equipment.  Nearly half of the residential growth in the City of Kamloops is slated for the area between the existing neighbourhood of Aberdeen and the mine, with the closest future residential area being within 700 metres of the mine.

An Example of The Mess Left by Mining

Despite the mining industry's repeated promises that they will clean up their mess when a mine closes, this is an example of what happens all to often. Giant Yellowknife Mine is another example. The taxpayer is faced with dealing with 137,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide, a deadly poison, left behind in the mine workings when the mine closed. Giant Arsenic Mess Review

Video taken near Jacko Lake

This land will be negatively impacted by the mine.