Local physicians group says Ajax poses health risk

By Tanya Cronin
January 26, 2016 - 5:14pm

KAMLOOPS — It has been one week since KGHM-Ajax submitted an application to the BC Environmental Assessment Office, in its quest to gain approval for the proposal copper-gold mine, south of Kamloops. Now, the public comment period on the project, has officially begun. 

In an effort to get their message across about the health effects a mine of this magnitude could have, 'The Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment' has released a new video, featuring a local neurosurgeon who is speaking against the project. Despite the 18-thousand page detailed document KGHM has put together, the group is not satisfied, and says a mine on the edge of Kamloops poses significant risk to human health.

"Cancer, developmental anomalies, asthma aggravations, COPD aggravation, increased incidents of health visits to the hospitals based on an exacerbation of a chronic disease. If the air quality goes up in terms of PM 2.5 and our quality is poor over the goal of 8 which the BC government has set, we're already over that right now, we're already over that right now, so we really don't have room to pollute and add this industrial source to the air we currently have," says Dr. Jill Calder, Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment.

KGHM-Ajax officials are reacting to the video released by the physician group, saying they spent a lot of time, money, resources, and put a lot of effort into building an application that's based on science. The company says the group is playing on emotions.

"We're confident the air quality model and the science behind it, and the professionals that have built that model and calibrated it, that it's acurately what the current conditions are and the conditions of the project. When I watched the video that the physicians put out, they were asking people to rely on their imagination, we would much rather have discussions based on science," says Clyde Gillespie, KGHM-Ajax Project Manager.

KGHM-Ajax officials appear before Kamloops City Council