Ajax mine open house set for June 16
It’s been the source of speculation and concern for several months, but residents in Kamloops will finally get a good look at a proposed mine project just outside city limits.
A public open house on KGHM’s Ajax copper-gold mine is planned for Thursday, June 16, at the Kamloops Towne Lodge, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The open house, which is part of the mining company’s environmental-assessment application, is being sponsored by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office.
Representatives from the mine will also be on hand to answer questions.
The open house is not only expected to draw residents from the nearby neighbourhoods, but conservation groups worried about the mine’s impact, including the Grasslands Conservation Council of B.C.
David Zirnhelt, a member of the council, said the group hasn’t taken a position yet on the proposed mine, but suggested there is concern the effect the mine will have on surrounding grasslands.
“The impact on the grasslands in this area would be considerable, so we’re flagging the need for that impact to be assessed and that mitigation be planned for,” he said.
Zirnhelt said it’s important for residents to attend the open house so concerns and questions can be noted during the environmental-assessment process.
The mine operation, which 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.
The mine is expected to produce about 50,000 tons of copper and 100,000 ounces gold per year for the life of operation, which is expected to be 23 years.
John Froese, a community relations co-ordinator for Abacus Mining and Exploration, which is owned by Polish company KGHM, said it’s important to get the process started, but cautioned the open house is just the beginning.
He said he expects people from different perspectives to attend the information session, including those opposed and in favour of the project.
Froese said it’s up to the mining company to answer question and settle the concerns of residents.
Meantime, the CEA is providing $50,000 to assist groups or individuals to participate in the federal environmental process.
This funding is intended to support public participation in the process and a funding review committee, independent of the federal environmental assessment process, will assess all applications and make a recommendation on the allocation of funds.
The deadline for applications is July 16.