Ajax-produced 3D video dubbed ‘insulting’
A new 3D-video rendering of the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine south of Aberdeen won’t soon be elbowing aside Avatar in the popularity department.
Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar said he doesn’t mind dealing with a computerized model — but noted he didn’t get the answers he was looking for from the video.
“I think it’s a very well-produced informational video for stock promotion, but not really what I was expecting for an informational,” Milobar said.
Ajax project manager Jim Whittaker said the new video, released on YouTube and on the company’s website was, in part, meant to answer some concerns from Kamloops city council.
“They were very interested in seeing the mine at full development from several points in the city,” he said.
“So we set that up inside of the model and showed renderings of if you could see the property from the location, or how high in the air would you have to be to see the property.”
The rendering shows how the mine’s north and east dump hills will appear from six locations once Ajax is in operation: Knutsford Hill Road, Coach Hill, Aberdeen elementary, Dufferin, Pineview and Batchelor Heights.
At most of these locations, according to the video, more than 10 stories of elevation will be required to spot the dump piles, although it will be visible from about ground level at Knutsford and Coach Hill.
“People don’t understand how high that hill on the back side of Aberdeen is,” Whittaker said.
“What we’ve shown in the video is you have to be very high up in the air before you would be able to see the mining property, even after 23 years of operation.”
Besides the views, the video also offers an overhead view of the mine during the first year and 15 and 23 years into its operation and shows the proposed locations of access roads, power and water lines, buildings and collections ponds.
A graphic map also shows the mine site in relation to the Kamloops city boundary.
A second marker simply labelled “Kamloops” appears to be set at the city’s downtown core, some 10 kilometres from the mine site.
Whittaker said KGHM Ajax had originally hoped to show the video at an open house in February, but renderings weren’t up to par in time.
While there is some discussion about building a physical scale model to show the public at later open houses, Whittaker said “there haven’t been any commitments made.”
That’s disappointing to Kamloops Area Preservation Association vice-chair Donna Sambolec, who hopes to see a non-computerized model of the site.
“There are a lot of people that are not Internet-capable,” she said.
“There are a lot of seniors in Kamloops whose lives will be affected if this project goes ahead and I think they deserve the respect of the company by giving them something they can access.”
Whittaker said he feels putting up the video online is the best way to get the information out to a wide range of people.
“Most of the seniors I’ve spoken to, they’re a lot more connected than most people think,” he said.
Others on city council were, like the mayor, less-than-impressed with the video.
“I though it was not all that helpful, to be honest,” Coun. Donovan Cavers told KTW.
“For most people, actually being able to walk around a physical model that includes both the mine and the city to get the perspective of the size, I think that would be really helpful.”
Council has already sent a letter to KGHM Ajax, asking for a better-quality model, Coun. Nelly Dever said, adding she found the level of information in the video “poor and insulting.”
The proposed mine is in the middle of an environmental-assessment process, the public comment period of which ended last month.
If approved, the mine is expected to produce 109-million pounds of copper and 99,000-ounces of gold annually over its 23-year lifespan, while creating an estimated 350 full-time jobs.
The video can be viewed online at ajaxmine.ca/video.html.