October 13, 2015 - 2:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - The evaluation period of the proposed Ajax Mine's environmental application has been extended by more than a month to give local First Nations groups more time to review the information.
According to KGHM spokesperson Robert Koopmans the extension was requested in an effort to act cooperatively with First Nations groups.
“We asked for the extension to give the SSN (Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation) more time to review the application for completeness. It is 18,000 pages. Local First Nations wanted more time. …We learned of the request and decided to act cooperatively,” Koopmans says, adding this sort of extension is not uncommon, especially given the length of the application.
Koopmans says KGHM actively tries to maintain a respectful and productive relationship with the First Nations group.
“We have regular discussions with SSN leaders regarding the Ajax project and its progress.”
The extension will also allow for further 'review and clarification' of the tailings storage facility alternatives assessment.
Koopmans says plans for the proposed tailings pond have not changed, but believes the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office request is 'regarding the level of detail to be reported.'
By adding an additional 38 days, the evaluation period has been more than doubled. Under the Environmental Assessment Office timelines 30 days are given for the office to evaluate the application for completeness. Once all the information is confirmed to be included the project can move on to the 180-day application review and public comment period. Originally that period could have started as early as Oct. 14, now the office has until Nov. 20 to complete the evaluation.
KGHM submitted its Ajax application to the province Sept. 14.
Ajax is a proposed open-pit gold and copper mine planned for just southwest of Kamloops.
Both the City of Kamloops and the Stk'emlupsemc te Secwepemc Nation have held information sessions to elicit public feedback and inform community members. The First Nations group will be hosting another information session for its community members tonight, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m. at Moccasin Square Gardens.
The proposed Ajax project is currently in the 'application evaluated for completeness' phase of the process.
Image Credit: B.C. Environmental Assessment Office
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015