KGHM-Ajax says project won't threaten public health

By James Peters
January 18, 2016 - 7:07am Updated: January 18, 2016 - 1:04pm

KAMLOOPS — Experts hired by KGHM-Ajax to help prepare the company's environmental application say the project's impacts to air quality should not be a concern.

According to Peter Reid of Stantec Consulting, the mine may add more particulate to the air for Kamloops residents living above Aberdeen Drive, but even then, that neighbourhood will still have among the best air quality in the city.

Reid says studies of the mine in isolation and the city in isolation were conducted, and then overlaid.

"When we add the two, what we see is a slight addition," says Reid. "That area of exceedence around the mine site grows a little bit, but the PM 2.5 exceedences don't extend into town."

"In fact, when you look at the results you can see that, for all intents and purposes, the visible effects of the mine end somewhere around Aberdeen (Drive)."

Meantime, the Mount Polley tailings pond breach of 2014 has had a big impact on plans for the project.

The company has now submitted its application to the Environmental Assessment Office, and that information is public on its website.

Project Manager Clyde Gillespie says the company is sticking with plans for a large tailing pond, but it is now so-called "thickened tailings."

"We've implemented lessons learned from Mount Polley to change from conventional tailings to thickened tailings, to construct a huge buttress on the two main embankments, and to go through the exercise of looking at the alternatives and the potential impacts of a dam breach," said Gillespie.

Gillespie says the company can give the community confidence that there is no threat.

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