NDP government says 'no' to Ajax

By James Peters
December 14, 2017 - 2:36pm

VANCOUVER — BC's NDP government has rejected the KGHM-Ajax copper-gold mine proposed for the southern edge of Kamloops.

Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman and Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall announced the government's thumbs down this afternoon, just 24 days into a 45-day window for cabinet to decide on the fate of the project.

The BC Environmental Assessment Office completed its review of the project, in conjunction with the federal government, on November 20.

Today, the ministers said the assessment noted 53 residual and cumulative adverse effects, 21 of them of a moderate-to-high magnitude.

Compounded with the mine's proximity to Kamloops, the province decided it was too risky.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced the federal EAO's rejection of the mine shortly after the BC rejection, though the point was moot by then.

The KGHM-Ajax mine was proposed nearly a decade ago, on the site of a pre-existing open pit mine.

It was touted to have a two-year construction window and a 23-year mine life, creating hundreds of jobs and pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.

Critics decried the mine's potential environmental impacts.

It was opposed by both the City of Kamloops and local First Nations groups.

Ajax reaction pours in