Kamloops councillor wants B.C. premier to suspend Ajax Mine process

The site of the proposed Ajax Mine.

KAMLOOPS - A Kamloops city councillor is asking the premier to suspend the proposed Ajax Mine process suggesting legal action may follow.

Coun. Denis Walsh says in a media release that going forward with the mine application might be against Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and refers to “the right to life, liberty and security of the person” from the charter. He says he’s started speaking to legal counsel about ways forward for “residents of Kamloops who believe their lives and their security of person are being jeopardized.”

Walsh says the use of a tailings pond is “unacceptable” and a clear threat to residents living below where the pond would be. He points to the Mount Polly disaster as an example of what can go wrong.

He also suggests there is a conflict of interest in how the government promotes, permits and regulates mining in B.C. He cites the recent report from B.C.’s auditor general about the mining ministry, and demands the creation an independent mine monitoring and enforcement body.

Between the two issues, he writes that provincial policies are “fundamentally opposed to the notions of fair process and justice held by Canadians.” 

Walsh states he is confident the points he makes are valid.

“I have sufficiently researched the legal aspects presented and have had sufficient feedback from qualified legal advocates to feel confident that all points in my letter are credible and should be taken seriously by the government of British Columbia,” he writes.

He was not available for comment.

Walsh, who included an anti-Ajax Mine stance in his platform during the last municipal election has previoulsy issued a statment he could support the mine if five conditions were met, including the creation of an independent mine monitoring body in B.C.

The proposed copper and gold mine on Kamloops's southwest border is temporarily suspend by the provincial environmental assessment office so the company behind the mine can collect more information and answer questions from a technical working group and the public at large.

Find past stories on the proposed Ajax mine here.

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