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Health studies were among the most robust in Ajax Project's environmental assessment

Sponsored Content Of all the topics studied as part of the Ajax Project environmental assessment, none drew more public attention -- and none were more carefully considered, researched or studied -- than Ajax's possible effects on human health.
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Sponsored Content Of all the topics studied as part of the Ajax Project environmental assessment, none drew more public attention -- and none were more carefully considered, researched or studied -- than Ajax's possible effects on human health.

And KGHM's assessments reflect definitive results -- the Project will not harm human health, and furthermore, will have a positive influence on quality of life in the community.

The Project's human health assessment was completed in line with guidance from Health Canada and other Canadian regulatory agencies that oversee such risk assessments. The involvement of these government agencies was required to ensure the Ajax studies captured all relevant factors and considerations.

Ajax Project Permitting Manager Nicola Banton said human health was clearly a very important issue for many in the community, as seen by the large numbers of comments submitted by people during the public commenting period hosted by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office last year.

The environmental assessment examined how the Project could potentially affect air and water quality, as well as locally raised or harvested fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and animals, she noted. The studies looked not just at environmental factors like air and water but included social and economic components as well as part of a more holistic approach.

"Our team of experts understood that health is not determined by air and water quality alone. A person's income, access to recreation, and sense of community all play a role in personal well-being," Banton said.

In order to understand what effects the project could have for Kamloops, KGHM's expert consultants completed extensive analyses that assessed potential effects on air quality, noise, light pollution, recreation, and several other factors. As a result of that work, mitigation measures were developed to eliminate or reduce effects.

"KGHM is committed to being a good neighbour to Kamloops, and to the people living and using the land near the Ajax mine site. A crucial part of that commitment is forging a strong relationship with the City and local residents so that we can share information and work toward our mutual benefit," she added.

As an additional channel of communication with neighbours to the Project, KGHM will establish a Community Liaison Group. Through this new group, KGHM will share its ongoing environmental monitoring data and work to address local questions and concerns as they arise.

While the Project is not expected to have measurable effects on human health, and outdoor recreation will continue to be accessible near the mine site and throughout the community, individual perceptions about the Project will vary and can influence how people think about their quality of life, noted Banton.

Using the studies performed for the Project Application/Environmental Impact Statement, Ajax Project engineers and planners have designed programs to minimize or avoid unwanted effects while protecting those things that research tells them people value, such as access to hiking, biking, fishing and other recreational pursuits.

"We firmly believe that Ajax will not objectively affect anyone's quality of life," she said. "We will work with individuals and the community as needed to ensure that is the case.

"It's important to note that the Project will add thousands of new jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity through contracts with local suppliers and wages paid to workers," said Banton.

"By supporting household incomes both directly and indirectly, the Project will increase local residents' access to the goods, services, and activities that they value, buoying their quality of life."