KAMLOOPS – An online fundraiser started this week by groups opposing the proposed Ajax Mine aims at hiring 'independent experts' to review the application documents that are set to be submitted this summer.
The application, which is expected to be thousands of pages of information in technical language, will be the document that helps decide whether the mine moves forward or not.
The proposed open pit copper and gold mine is set to be located just southwest of Kamloops near the Aberdeen neighbourhood. The project has encountered a number of delays over the past year and has also been the target of a group of people adamant the mine not be approved.
KGHM Ajax Mine spokesperson Robert Koopmans says the company is planning to submit the application this summer and will take the time required to make sure the application is complete and properly addresses the topics being studied as part of the environmental application information requirements. The company has promised to provide additional ‘plain language’ summaries to the public once the application has been submitted.
According to John Schleiermacher, spokesperson for the Kamloops Area Preservation Association, his and roughly a half dozen groups are responsible for the fundraising campaign. Within a day of being posted the fundraiser had already reached one-third of its $25,000 goal.
“(The application is) submitted by paid groups who’ll paint a very rosy picture of this proposed mine,” Schleiermacher says in explaining the importance of hiring independent experts.
The fundraiser describes KGHM among the largest mining companies in the world, almost a third of which is owned by the Polish government. With assets in the billions of dollars, the fundraiser paints a David and Goliath picture; David being those opposed to the mine against KGHM’s Goliath.
Koopmans says KGHM does not object to the fundraiser, noting the company is dedicated to the most thorough study of the Ajax project as well as a careful examination by the Kamloops community.
“We encourage responsible third party reviews, knowing such reviews will reassure people about the nature of the Ajax project,” Koopmans says.
The $25,000 goal will allow for the hiring of experts to decipher and critique reports and to rent a storefront to distribute information from. The fundraiser estimates each consultant will cost between $3,000 and $5,000.
Schleiermacher believes $25,000 is a very attainable goal, saying he foresees 'no problem at all getting this kind of money.'
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