July 29, 2015 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS – An independent review of the Ajax Mine proposal is expected take place this fall and council has decided both KGHM and the Kamloops Area Preservation Association, a vocal opponent of the proposed mine, should help foot the bill.
KGHM Ajax Mining is expected to submit its environmental application to the province by the end of summer. If and when the province approves the applicaiton the project can move to the next phase and the city will hire consultants to prepare a review addressing issues specifically of concern to Kamloops.
Yesterday, July 28, staff asked city council to approve $300,000 to hire SLR Consulting, a firm that hasn’t previously done work for KGHM, to conduct the review. Staff feel outside experts are needed because the application is expected to be thousands of pages of technical language.
Council agreed to the amount, but also that KGHM should foot at least part of the bill. Council also decided to ask the anti-Ajax association to contribute financially to the city’s review.
Council could not agree on what percentage KGHM should pay though. While some councillors felt KGHM should pay the entire $300,000, others felt, so that the processed appeared impartial, the city needed to fund also.
KGHM has already said it is open to contributing financially to the review.
“We support the idea of proponents providing communities with capacity funding as part of the environmental assessment process,” Robert Koopmans, KGHM spokesman said in an email statement.
There was no discussion as to what the association, which recently raised more than $35,000 through an online fundraising campaign to hire its own experts to review parts of the application, will be asked to contribute.
Council also gave the directive that a public open house should occur sooner rather than later, even suggesting it should take place before the consultants were finished conducting their review. Milobar scheduled a council workshop Aug. 18 to discuss what the open house should cover.
The proposed open-pit copper-gold mine will be located just southwest of the city. If approved it is expected the mine will operate for more than 20 years and will employ hundreds of people.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015