City Council narrows down information request of KGHM-Ajax

By Tanya Cronin
March 23, 2016 - 5:46pm

KAMLOOPS — The second of two meetings this week between the City of Kamloops and the company hired to conduct a preliminary review of the proposed KGHM-Ajax Copper-Gold Mine, has resulted in a list of comments to send to the BC Environmental Assessment Office. 

WATCH: Full story by Reporter Tanya Cronin

SLR Consulting has spent countless hours drafting up a report, based on KGHM's 18,000 page application to the province. 

Mayor and council has gone over the details of the consulting company's findings, and Wednesday, finalized a list of comments, questions and concerns, they expect the mining proponent to answer.

It's a letter requesting KGHM-Ajax provide more information on its proposed Copper-Gold Mine, South of Kamloops.

"We want to make sure the concerns around dust and air quality and things like that are addressed, this is another step in what's become a long process of asking questions and waiting for answers," says Mayor of Kamloops, Peter Milobar.

While they won't officially take an affirmative or negative stance toward the project just yet, City Council has started negotiations, narrowing down a list of comments, arising from a preliminary review done by SLR Consulting, to send off to the Environmental Assessment Office.

"It's a letter around wanting further clarification around groundwater, ground stability in Aberdeen, the air, the tailings management, the beach management of the tailings area, those types of things so nothing we haven't heard in the previous two meetings but really about supporting SLR in their work and trying to get those answers." 

During a special meeting Wedensday afternoon, councillors struggled with technical gaps in the mine's impact assessment. Concerns were brought forward in a number of important areas. 

"Things like noise and vibration, air quality, as well as the potential  impact on the Aberdeen slope stability, some additions council is looking for, things like climate change, dark sky, water balance with respect to how much water is being used as well as including dust in some of the working where it wasn't included before," says Jen Fretz, City Public Works Director.

City image is another big factor the council is concerned about. Potential impact on rental prices for low-income families, property values, local businesses losing skilled workers to the mine, and one of the most pressing factors of all, what could be a crisis situation of doctors leaving the city.

"As I understand it right now the application basically says that's not true, we want them to validate why and talk to the doctors, potentially survey them and see if the mine is approved, it won't have a detrimental effect on doctors," says Councillor Donovan Cavers.

SLR Consulting has sifted through 801 comments and questions submitted by the city and residents, only to find more information is needed, to prove the community has nothing to fear. May 9th, is the final day City Council is scheduled to weigh in on the mine proposal. However, while the city's opinion carries political muscle, the mine's approval, doesn't hinge upon their decision.

"If they get a permit they need to take care of these types of things, whether or not we support them getting a permit or not will be part of that, but either way we want to make sure we address and protect some things that we want to make sure are undertaken around ground stability, air, dust, things like that," says Milobar.     

Police academy puts students to the test