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Kamloops First Nation discusses Ajax Mine proposal with federal environment minister

FILE PHOTO - Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna is pictured speaking to reporters outside the House of Commons in Ottawa in this file photo.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
July 18, 2016 - 12:18 PM

KAMLOOPS - Local First Nations leaders met with the federal environment minister last week to discuss the proposed Ajax Mine.

The Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwepemc Nation met with federal environment minister Catherine McKenna on July 13, according to a media release.

During the meeting the First Nation demanded the federal government participate in nation-to-nation discussions to ensure the group is involved in the federal review of the mine, chief Fred Seymour says in the release.

The group has concerns with the current environmental review process “given the current inadequacies” of the provincial and federal reviews. The First Nation has brought up issues with the federal and provincial environmental assessment before and are holding their own review of the proposed mine.

They've requested a panel review from the federal government before, but McKenna has not ordered one. The city and Thompson-Nicola Regional District have also requested federal panel reviews.

The meeting follows months of efforts by the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwepemc Nation to hold a meeting with McKenna. It was held in Niagara Falls, Ont. on Wednesday, July 13 and the group had about 45 minutes with the minster.

Kamloops city council has also requested meetings with the minister, but none have been held to this point.

The First Nation is also seeking a meeting with the Polish ambassador to Canada, because KGHM, the company that owns KGHM Mining, is a Polish state-owned company. It cites the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous People, which Canada and Poland have signed, in the release.

The proposed copper and gold mine is currently temporarily suspended at the request of KGHM Mining to respond to information requests about the environmental assessment. It is expected to restart sometime in the fall. If approved the mine would operate on the city’s southwest border.

Get caught up on propsosed Ajax Mine issue here.


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