June 28, 2014 - 11:45 AM
KAMLOOPS - A series of open houses this week allowed residents to get a closer look at the new footprint of the proposed Ajax Mine. They also gave those for, against and unsure about the project an opportunity to ask questions.
Hundreds of people took that opportunity, with an average of about 130 people attending each of the three open houses. They were planned as a way to show the new foot print to the community. Nicole Trudell with Ajax says they had a good mix of people coming out to the events.
On the final night many local ranchers showed up at the Knutsford community hall. Many shared what they knew and encouraged each other to ask questions.
“It’s been good. There’s been lots of questions. We encourage questions,” Trudell says. If we didn't have the information, she added, we told people we'd get it.
The new manager of project development, Clyde Gillespie, is excited about the mining project and feels engagement with the community has been positive so far.
“Obviously the proximity to the community will create some challenges, but they’re definitely challenges that can be overcome,” he says. “I’m hoping the community will continue to communicate with us, engage with us.”
While picketers were outside at the beginning of each of the three open houses they eventually made their way inside to observe and ask questions. For the most part, each of the events remained respectful and peaceful with little confrontation.
Some raised voices over reclamation, location and minerals were heard but KGHM Ajax Mining staff were able to placate most people with answers or the promise to get them.
Project management still expect to submit the environmental application by the first quarter of 2015 and plans to hold more open houses and information sessions leading up to the application are being planned.
Site tours are being offered and will be based on the new foot print.
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Protesters pickets outside each of the Ajax Mine open houses this week.
(JENNIFER STAHN /InfoTel Multimedia)
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