Ajax mine reps to hold open house in June
Kamloops residents and city council got their first public look at a plan for what is already a controversial proposed mining project just outside city limits.
Officials from Abacus Mining and Exploration, which is owned by Polish company KGHM, gave council a 10-minute presentation on the proposed Ajax mining project.
The mine operation, which is would be located a couple of kilometres south of the city limits in Aberdeen, stretches west to the Coquihalla Highway and is part of the old Afton mine site.
Council learned the mine is expected to produce about 50,000 tons of copper 100,000 ounces gold per year for the life of operation, which is expected to be 23 years.
It will take about 1,000 people to build the project over a two-year period, which, if approved, would start in 2013.
The mine would eventually employ 350 to 400 full-time people.
As for its environmental impact, the mining company said the mine would draw its water from Kamloops Lake, taking potentially 2,000 cubic litres per hour from an existing station at the lake.
However, the company noted it is working to reduce that figure.
The tailings from the mine would be pumped and stored in a facility between the Coquihalla Highway and Lac Le Jeune Road, while the Inks Lake area would be used for a process and runoff-water pond.
Mark Whittaker, project manager for Ajax, said the mine would work around Jacko Lake and respect the area.
“It was very clear to us that Jacko Lake was the centrepiece of the area,” he told council.
The company said it has no plans to change the access to the popular fish-bearing lake to the public.
City councillors didn’t offer up any opinions on the plan, but Mayor Peter Milobar noted approval of the mine ultimately rests with the federal and provincial governments.
Several residents at the meeting expressed their concerns.
Local environmental activist Ruth Madsen argued heavy blasting from the mine will traumatize the fish and destroy the habitat around Jacko Lake.
She questioned whether the city wants to be known for killing a lake to build another mine.
Meanwhile, the company said it expects to hold a public open house on the project sometime in late June.
Mine officials met with the city and staff and the directors of Thompson-Nicola Regional District in the spring of 2010 to introduce the project.