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Anti-Ajax coalition worries about 'perception of bias' if KGHM funds city’s review

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August 29, 2015 - 11:30 AM

KAMLOOPS – A coalition of anti-Ajax groups are concerned with the Kamloops city council decision to ask KGHM to fund their independent review.

Mayor Peter Milobar met with the mining company this week and KGHM verbally agreed to pay for the city’s review of the Ajax mine.

Spokesperson for the coalition Cynthia Ross Friedman worries about the perception of bias.

“What we're looking at is the proponent funding the review of their own project. We’re not saying there is bias, we’re not saying it’s not truly independent but this is private money funding private industry,” Ross Friedman says. “We saw this coming. We thought we needed to fund a different type of review.”

Friedman says the coalition is the only stakeholder group that won’t use KGHM money to fund a review.

The coalition was formed as part of a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo called “Help Stop the Ajax Mine.” The campaign asked for $25,000 to hire independent experts. After thirty days the coalition raised over $30,000.

The groups involved include Concerned Citizens of Kamloops, the Kamloops Area Preservation Association, Kamloops Moms for Clean Air, Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society and the TRU Faculty Association Human Rights Committee.

The coalition was also approached by the city to contribute financially to its review but declined. 

“That's not what the proposal was on the crowdfunding site. We have to stick to what we promised donors,” Friedman says.

KGHM donated $5,000 to the coalition’s Indiegogo campaign, but the money was promptly refunded by the coalition. Friedman says donations after this happened spiked dramatically. She believes, if this is any indication, donors would not have been happy to be part of a review KGHM was helping to pay for.

The coalition is waiting for KGHM to submit its official application before hiring consultants and experts for their own review. The application is expected late summer or early fall.

The city is preparing their own review to ask Kamloops specific questions and interpret the expected thousands of pages of very technical information and is expected to hire SLR Consulting Ltd. out of Vancouver. The review is estimated to cost about $300,000.

The Ministry of the Environment will ultimately decide if the Ajax mine will be built in Kamloops.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at dreynolds@infonews.ca or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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