The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office says it has no role to play in negotiations between the City of Kamloops and KGHM Ajax.
The company behind the proposed Ajax copper and gold mine south of Aberdeen announced this week it is backing out of negotiations to strike a community benefit agreement, which would give the city revenue from the mine and include commitments to manage noise, dust and other effects from the project that could affect property values.
“Benefit agreements are not part of the environmental process,” Ajax project manager Clyde Gillespie wrote in a letter to city council.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Environment said that is true, in the sense that it’s up to the company to decide when and if it’s going to negotiate those agreements.
“Benefits agreements, should they be negotiated, are generally external to the environmental assessment and provincial decision-making process,” the spokesman said.
“They therefore form no part of the environmental-assessment certificate or associated conditions, should one be granted.”
The spokesman also noted potential benefits of a project aren’t required to be evaluated in an environmental assessment.
While KGHM isn’t required to negotiate with the city, the ministry said “parties may choose to enter into discussions at any stage in the environmental-assessment process, should they determine that it would be in their mutual interest.”
Gillespie told KTW in an earlier interview the company would create a community advisory board to make donations in Kamloops, rather than deal directly with the city.