Kamloops councillor asks premier to suspend Ajax permitting process

By Jill Sperling
August 13, 2016 - 10:49am Updated: August 13, 2016 - 3:18pm

KAMLOOPS — A Kamloops city councillor is voicing his concerns about the KGHM Ajax mine proposal.

Councillor Denis Walsh has sent a letter to Premier Christy Clark, outlining why he believes the permitting process for the mine is flawed. 

Walsh writes in his letter that it is unacceptable to place a large tailings pond dam directly above the city of Kamloops, citing the failure of the Mount Polley tailings pond two years ago. 

"We need only imagine the dire consequences had there been a city of 90,000 residents just below Mount Polley dam." Walsh writes. 

The second concern outlined in the letter is the apparent dismissal of the auditor general's recommendation for independent monitoring and enforcement of mine oversight in B.C. 

According to Walsh, "the ability of the mines and environment ministries to monitor and enforce safe mining practices is a proven failure that must be corrected." 

Walsh writes that he believes the two aforementioned "flaws" could be seen as a violation of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He requests Clark suspends the permitting process until those issues are rectified. 

Walsh adds he will be introducing a motion this fall asking Kamloops City Council to require the mine to meet five conditions in order to operate. 

The conditions, modeled after the province's conditions for the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal, include:

  1.  Formal acceptance of mine development by affected First Nations
  2.  Successful completion of the formal environmental review and permitting processes
  3.  Strict compliance and enforcement of zero-harm mining practices, overseen by an agency independent of the Ministry of Mines and the Ministry of Environment
  4. An on-going joint review panel
  5. The city of Kamloops receives a fair share of financial compensation


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