SLR reveals preliminary findings on Ajax application

By Chad Klassen
March 18, 2016 - 11:15pm Updated: March 19, 2016 - 9:00am

KAMLOOPS — SLR Consulting, hired by the City of Kamloops and paid by KGHM, presented its preliminary findings of the mine company's more than 18,000-page application to a full house on Friday night at TRU's Grand Hall. 

The overall theme of the report was inconsistent and incomplete.

"We are not saying the findings are wrong, we're saying we can't get to validation yet at this point," says SLR Consulting's technical review manager Paul Draycott. "So in all fairness to the proponent, the inclusions may very well be correct."

SLR sifted through the 801 comments submitted by the city and residents, and paired them down to key areas, including potential dust produced from the mine. 

One of the biggest inquiries the consulting company has for KGHM related to dust is its promise for 94% mitigation. 

"It's a challenging achievement 94%," says Draycott. "I remain open to see whether this can be achieved or not. It will be expensive, it will be continuous through the life of the mine to mitigate to 94%."

In their address of noise and vibration, the consultants cited that residents, even those living in Aberdeen, will be able to hear mine operations, but not to a disturbing level. 

"So if you're standing out in your backyard, yes you may hear audible noise from the mine. It's not to the point where it's going to drive you inside because it's unbearable, but we don't want people to think that if we say it's unaudible that you won't hear anything," says Draycott.

SLR also thinks the tailings management plan is well done, especially in light of the Mount Polley disaster in 2014. It says the design and plans for mitigation is solid.

"It's a belt-and-suspender's approach. There's been some of the outcomes from Mount Polley have been listened to and incorporated," says Draycott. "So in addition to what we'd normally expect from a typical tailings storage facility dam, we've got this additional buttressing."

The big concern from SLR is the amount of water the mine will reuse from the tailings ponds.

"As we get later on in this project, you'll start to see really large beach areas of tailings material, and a very small amount of water. Are we looking at this for resuspension of dust?"

But SLR reminded the nearly 600 residents in attendance on Friday there is still more work ahead, and while some of the application seems incomplete, further research could disprove some of their concerns about KGHM's submission. 

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