September 11, 2015 - 1:00 PM
KAMLOOPS - The company behind the proposed Ajax Mine has officially agreed to fund the city's independent review of the mine.
In an informal meeting with Mayor Peter Milobar members of KGHM verbally agreed to to fund the entire $300,000 cost of the review and the city later sent a written request formally asking for the funding. KGHM spokesperson Robert Koopmans says it is now official.
“We see value in the city’s decision to pursue an independent third-party review of the Ajax (environmental assessment) application. Clearly, city residents want such a review and we expect it will help people better understand KGHM’s EA application. We want to be sure that city residents and leaders have every opportunity to understand the complex science that supports the Ajax project,” Koopmans says.
Milobar and Public Works Director Jen Fretz each penned a letter to KGHM, dated Aug. 13 and Aug. 27, respectively.
In his letter, Milobar asks KGHM to help cover the costs of the city’s review and states it must take into account questions from residents and be 'thorough and comprehensive.' He notes the city is asking for KGHM’s help financially as the cost of the review is extensive and the burden on taxpayers is great.
“In order to keep the application review impartial, it is important to us the money be given to the city directly so that SLR (Consulting Ltd.) is hired directly by us,” Milobar says in the letter.
Fretz reiterates Milobar’s request for KGHM to fund the $300,000 review and provides the company with a breakdown of the city’s planned process once KGHM submits its environmental application.
The letters do not outline exactly what part of the environmental application will be covered by the city review that KGHM is now funding. Staff has previously said the consultants would focus on the concerns specific to Kamloops.
Milobar also sent a letter the same day to the Kamloops Area Preservation Association. The letter to KGHM and the association were the same, save for one paragraph. Milobar acknowledges that the coalition consisted of more than one group and if they were interested in discussing the matter further, he would be happy to accommodate.
The association is part of an anti-Ajax coalition that started a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to raise funds for its own independent review.
Coalition spokesperson Cynthia Ross Friedman perviously said the groups respectfully declined the city’s offer, opting instead to hire their own experts for their own review.
“That's not what the proposal was on the crowdfunding site. We have to stick to what we promised donors,” Friedman said.
KGHM donated $5,000 to the coalition’s Indiegogo campaign, but was refunded by the group. It was thought accepting funds from the company was a conflict of interest.
KGHM plans to submit its environmental application for the proposed Ajax Mine in the near future. If approved the open-pit copper-gold mine will be located along the southwest edge of Kamloops.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015