June 30, 2014 - 4:03 PM
KAMLOOPS - New Afton officials say estimates of air pollution emissions from its New Gold mine near Kamloops are wrong—the victim of bad data.
If emissions reported to national authorities are accurate, it would make the mine among the top air polluters in the country. Its pollution levels were seized on by the Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment in that groups latest attack salvo against KGHM International's attempts to build the Ajax mine. The doctors group put out a controversial fact sheet raising awareness about air quality levels reported by the mine in the 2012 National Pollutant Release Inventory report.
The report showed the local mine as the third worst emitter of what's called PM2.5 in 2012, behind only the Department of National Defence in Quebec and Highland Valley Cooper in Logan Lake. But now New Afton says a third party consultant made some assumptions.
“This resulted in a significant over-estimation of the amount of PM2.5 emissions from the mine," it said in a release.
The company says it will have qualified consultants monitor the mine over the next month to determine site-specific estimation of emissions rather than industry-wide average factors. It says doing this will provide more accurate numbers for the national inventory report which should be updated this July.
“New Afton understands residents are concerned about air quality and we recognize the importance of monitoring and controlling dust emissions from our site,” the release states. “The monitoring by the Ministry (of Environment since February 2013) shows New Afton PM2.5 average emissions are approximately half of the Health Canada guideline.”
The company notes it installed a high efficiency dust collection system that reduces the total particulate matter by ‘greater than 95 per cent’ in 2013.
“New Afton understands that the errors in the 2012 NPRI report has led to a misunderstanding and we apologize for any confusion this has caused. Above all, New Afton is committed to protecting air quality in Kamloops. This is our home, and we want to ensure the health and safety of our families, co-workers and neighbours.”
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014