Ajax will file project plans in fall
Proponents of the Ajax mine plan to submit the project for environmental review by the end of September.
Robin Bartlett, spokeswoman with KGHM Ajax, said the company has completed slightly more than half of the testing required for the application.
Company representatives had previously suggested the application for the open-pit copper and gold mine, which would be located south of Aberdeen, might be filed by June.
Bartlett said when KGHM took over as project operator from Abacus Mining in 2012, the company decided to review work that had already been completed for the environmental filing.
“They’re just taking their time to make sure that they’re doing everything right and making sure everything’s accurate,” she said.
“We’re still out there doing some testing and some drilling and making sure we’re getting all the data that we need.
Bartlett said the application deals with 41 components, including socio-economic impacts of the project and environmental studies.
It will also address the mine’s relationship with area First Nations and the Kamloops community.
While there have been no hard and fast timelines in the review process to this point, once KGHM submits its application, the province’s Environmental Assessment Office will have 30 days to determine whether the document is comprehensive.
After that, a 180-day application review will begin. It’s at this point the public will get a chance to see the studies KGHM is conducting, Bartlett said.
“We’ll have answers to a lot of questions that the community has been asking,” she said.
“There’ll be a comment period and we’ll also be scheduling an open house so the community can come in and get some more information and ask the questions they need to ask.”
Once the application review ends, it will be up to the provincial and federal governments to make the final decision, with approval needed from both levels.
Ministers will have 45 days to render a decision.
Barring any further delays, Bartlett said KGHM hopes to have the mine start production in the fall of 2016.