Group forms to fight mine
As opposition to a proposed mine right outside Kamloops continues to grow, a group is forming to lead the fight.
A group called the Kamloops Area Preservation Association (KAPA) is the process of setting up a website — stopajaxmine.ca — and is looking for people to join its cause.
The website is expected to be operating by the end of July.
John Schleiermacher is an Aberdeen resident and a member of the association.
Though he wasn’t ready to name members of the group, he said there are about 15 people involved from all walks of life.
The KAPA has one goal in mind — stopping the proposed Ajax mine from proceeding.
Schleiermacher said the group isn’t interested in mitigation or getting more information.
“At the end of the day, once they get their permits, they’re going to do what ever the heck they want,” he told KTW.
When asked how the group plans to stop the mine, Schleiermacher said the association is looking at all possibilities but, so far, he said it intends to lobby the federal and provincial environmental assessment agencies and city hall.
The proponent of the mine, Abacus Mining, which is owned by Polish company KGHM, has already given the group ammunition in its fight.
The mining company has stated the project is 10 kilometres outside the city, but a closer look at the plans reveals half the mine site is within City of Kamloops boundaries and part of the site is less than two kilometres from two elementary schools in Aberdeen.
The discrepancy was also noted by the city as part of its 11-page letter to mine proponents containing questions regarding the project.
Schleiermacher and the group have a list of concerns from the mine, arguing the neighbourhoods of Aberdeen and Pineview Valley will be most affected if the mine is approved.
He said he was planning to retire in Kamloops, but he won’t stay if the mine gets the green light.
“I’m not going to hang around if we’re facing all these negative issues,” Schleiermacher said.
The environmental-assessment process on the controversial project began in June with the first of several public open houses.
About 300 residents attended the meeting, many to express their concerns and opposition to the project.
The mine operation 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 of gold per year for the life of operation, which is predicted to be 23 years.