September 05, 2014 - 5:37 PM
KAMLOOPS - If you have questions about the environmental application process for the proposed Ajax mine, you might get answers as early as this October.
Scott Bailey of the Environmental Assessment Office finally agreed to an earlier meeting after initially declining a May letter from Kamloops city council. He had said the office would meet to discuss the application process closer to the actual application date, but that response was not good enough for council. They sent another letter this summer again requesting a meeting to provide clarification to the public.
“I’m disappointed in this response… it seemed the indication from the province was that we should have more public information sessions,” Mayor Peter Milobar said at the time. “I didn’t think it would be a year to get it set up.”
Now the ministry has backtracked and is offering a ‘broad-based public information session’ as well as attendance at a council meeting as soon as early- to mid-October, depending on the availability of city staff and council.
“I would be happy to do this whenever the City of Kamloops wishes,” Bailey said in a letter to council last month.
He also noted while KGHM International, the company behind the mine, made changes to the proposed Ajax Mine site, he doesn't anticipate the public comment period will change.
“However, as my staff and I review Working Group members' comments on proposed revisions to the (application requirements) we will be noting any rationale that may support an additional public comment period,” he said in the letter. “I expect to be in a position to discuss this with the Agency and make a final determination on this request in the early fall.”
Meanwhile the federal Minister of the Environment, Leona Aglukkaq, again turned down a request from council to visit both the city and the mine site.
The proposed mine had the application information requirements approved last June but then recently overhauled the footprint of the mine. Maps of the new footprint were released to the public at the end of May and a month later KGHM Ajax Mine hosted three open houses to provide more details on these plans. Staff at the open houses said the new footprint would not impact the application requirements.
The company plans to have the the application submitted by spring 2015 and then six months are given for review, which includes a public comment period. The government then has 45 days to make a decision and if approved the mine will move into the permitting stage and then construction.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014