KAMLOOPS - After presenting to the public last week, SLR Consulting stood before council for a question and answer period this morning.
The firm, hired by the city to review the 18,000-page mine application, took questions from councillors and the mayor during a morning workshop on Monday, March 21, about the proposed mine's application and the firm’s preliminary findings but was unable to provide much new information because they are waiting on KGHM Ajax Mining to respond to questions.
Councillors had a variety of concerns from housing rental prices to the size of the potential tailings pond the mine would create and while information still needs to be collected before answering some questions, SLR Consulting technical review manager Paul Draycott said this is normal at this stage of a review.
“I’m satisfied that SLR Consulting have done all that they can do but of course I’m disappointed that the information they need they don’t have yet,” Coun. Tina Lange says. “So we’re sort of sitting in limbo right now.”
The consulting firm submitted more than 800 comments and questions looking for information and reasoning for certain facts and figures on March 3, Draycott told council. Some information has already been provided by the proponent and the rest should be in by March 23, he says. Draycott also noted 800 is not a high number of comments for an application such as this and the list will shorten quickly as questions are answered and the process moves forward.
Mayor Peter Milobar wanted to know where this application stands in comparison to similar projects. Draycott explained mines in more remote areas are less complex since a large community isn’t nearby, and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office is working well at coordinating tasks needed to get all the information.
“I think it gives people some better insight as to what the process really is,” Milobar says. “This isn’t really outside of the realm of what a typical mine application process is as far as unanswered questions.”
The consulting firm will submit a final report in advance of council’s May 9 meeting, when a decision will likely be made on the city’s stance on the mine. Mayor Peter Milobar repeated his concern that citizens of Kamloops believe the city has more say in the mine’s application than it does and noted the city’s stance will not necessarily sway the federal and provincial assessment offices.
The meeting followed a public presentation Friday, March 18, where the consultant shared the early review of the mine application and again allowed the public to ask questions. KGHM-Ajax sent out a statement today responding to the concerns about the lack of information the consultant has, saying the company will work to satisfy any concerns about the proposed mine and it was ‘unfortunate’ the consultants commented to the public about the lack of information before giving KGHM time to respond information requests.
The proposed open-pit gold and copper mine southwest of the city is currently in the review and public comment period of the environmental assessment. The 75-day public comment period will end in April and the federal and provincial assessment offices will decide whether or not to grant the environmental permits for the mine, or ask for more information on the project, once the review period ends this summer.
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