How to fund the city's Ajax Mine review
By Dana Reynolds
Last fall hundreds of people attended information sessions on the environmental assessment process and how it applies to the proposed Ajax Mine.
(JENNIFER STAHN / iNFOnews.ca)
July 28, 2015 - 11:30 AM
KAMLOOPS – Once the environmental application for the proposed Ajax Mine is submitted later this summer the city plans on seeking an independent review of the proposal, but it is unclear just how that review will be paid for.
Staff is asking council for an additional $300,000 to hire SLR Consulting, a firm not believed to have any direct ties to KGHM, to conduct an independent review of Ajax. In a report to council staff suggests two options for funding the review. The first model asks KGHM to provide the city with an agreed-upon level of funding with the city providing the remainder and the second option would have the city cover the full amount and seek grants to cover the expense.
In the first option KGHM would be providing the city with financial support to conduct the external independent review of its own application. The company says while it is open to the idea, it has not been formally requested to provide any funding.
“We see value in the city’s pursuit of an independent third-party assessment of the Ajax EA (environmental assessment) application. Such reviews have the potential to bring Kamloops residents clarity and comfort about the science behind the Ajax Project,” KGHM spokesperson Robert Koopmans says. “We support the idea of proponents providing communities with capacity funding as part of the environmental assessment process.... KGHM will wait for city council to have its discussions. The city has not yet made a request for funding.”
Koopmans says the company is still on track to submit its application by the end of the summer. Once the application is submitted the province has 30 days to decide whether more information is needed or if it can move on to the 180-day application review stage, which includes another public comment period.
The city has little say in whether the project is approved but has been involved in the working group providing input on the application requirements. The city approved $50,000 for consulting fees in 2012, about half of which was used to review the original project description and provide input on the applicaiton information requirements document.
Council promised to have staff organize a review of the project once the application is formally submitted and then host public information sessions to help the community better understand what the application specifically says. KGHM Ajax Mine has also promised to provide a website summarizing the documentation in 'plain language.'
The city has raised concerns around a number of issues to do with the proposed mine, which is set to be located on the southwest edge of Kamloops, including concerns of dust, noise and vibration as well as the aesthetics of the city in general. Concerns around the impact on city infrastructure, including ground water, the impact of hauling trucks to traffic and amounts of solid waste the mine will create have also been raised. There have also been questions around growth and sustainability within Kamloops and whether the mine project interferes with the city’s sustainability and airshed plans.
Opponents of the mine recently concluded an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for its own independent review as well.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email email@example.com or call 250-718-2724.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015