Satellite image taken the day after Mount Polley mine tailings breach in August 2014 shows drained tailings dam and spill that backed into Polley Lake and down Hazeltine Creek to Quesnel Lake.
The information was detailed in Dec. 30 story, ahead of the company’s planned public release of its application expected early in the new year.
An engineering panel convened in the wake of the Mount Polley tailings disaster in 2014 recommended dry stack tailings be utilized as best practice to reduce the risk of collapse compared to conventional water storage.
In wake of that recommendation, KGHM Ajax stated publicly it would reconsider dry tailings storage — something contained in its original plans, but later rejected due to cost and other considerations.
Contacted Wednesday, KGHM Ajax spokesman Robert Koopmans said an official would not be available to speak on the issue until Jan. 4.
According to the Sun story, Clyde Gillespie, the project’s development manager, said KGHM-Ajax has settled on a plan to reduce, but not eliminate, water in its tailings storage. It will increase the solid content in its tailings from the standard 32 per cent to 60 per cent.
In its most recent public plans, KGHM Ajax said it will locate its tailings storage facility at Goose Lake, north of the Ajax pit. It has purchased privately held land to do so.
Gillespie said the capacity would be 440-million tonnes — nearly five times the capacity of Mount Polley’s tailings storage facility. Tailings would be stored behind a 120-metre high wall of rock and earth.
Kamloops Area Preservation Association spokesman John Schleiermacher said the plan ignores the tailings review panel recommendations.
“It’s wet tailings — wet tailings was at Mount Polley; wet tailings was at the Brazil mine dam that wiped out a town,” he said.
Schleiermacher said the proposed dam will loom over Jacko Lake and threaten the city of Kamloops downstream in the event of a collapse.
KGHM Ajax has rejected dry stack due to concerns about downstream dust, as well as questions whether dry-stack storage can handle the large scale of waste production from the mine, Gillespie said.