Ajax needs to prove to us why mine is needed
As a concerned citizen observing the process surrounding the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine, I believe some simple questions remain unanswered and some fundamental assumptions have been left unchallenged.
Proponents and supporters of the mine propose there is no substantial reason to not proceed with extraction of copper and gold at the proposed site.
Tremendous efforts have already been invested laying the groundwork for the project and managing community concerns.
Although mine proponents have repeatedly identified the economic advantages of the project, KGHM Ajax and those who support their plans have failed to show this mine is actually needed and that it is needed now.
The world has not yet run out of copper and gold.
There are numerous other mining projects starting throughout B.C. and these projects will certainly make use of workers who have been displaced by the reduction in forestry-based jobs.
These workers will certainly contribute to the economy with their ample salaries.
Considering the recent proliferation of other mining projects, the KGHM Ajax mine is simply not needed — and is especially not needed with any urgency.
The mine employees and residents of Kamloops will certainly not benefit as much as a relatively small group of stakeholders, many of whom do not (and will not) live in Kamloops.
This relatively small group has successfully engaged the public in a somewhat misplaced debate about the positive and negative effects of the mine and, in so doing, has evaded answering the fundamental questions regarding “need” and “urgency”.
Those who oppose the mine draw attention to the negative impact the mine could have on our city (including noise, dust, property values, weather patterns and health).
The questions raised invite KGHM Ajax to respond to specific questions about the day-to-day impact of mine activity.
Regardless of how adequate or inadequate the responses are, the prevailing assumption appears to be that if the community’s concerns are addressed by KGHM Ajax, there is no reason to not go ahead.
In other words, the mine will go ahead unless there are some really good reasons not to. This places the burden of proof on those opposed to the mine.
Does it not make more sense to have KGHM Ajax prove to the citizens of Kamloops that the mine is needed — and that it is needed now?
As we work together to make the best decisions, we need to consider the bigger picture, one that includes the health and well-being of our community now and for future generations.
We have an opportunity to pay attention to the priorities of children and grandchildren who will inherit the consequences of our choices.
Why not treasure and preserve the resources that lie in our backyard?
Do we really need to dig them up and consume them for our own short-term gain?
We have an opportunity now to honour those youth who do not consider a well-paying job at the mine to be their life’s ambition.
We can choose to promote meaningful and sustainable employment opportunities that contribute to our common good, and not just to the corporate bottom line.
We really do not need the KGHM Ajax mine to solve our problems or help us deal with the challenges ahead.
We have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership as a community and ask KGHM Ajax to go beyond answering the specific concerns and simply explain why Kamloops needs their mine — and why it is so necessary to act now.