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Kamloops News

Ajax blasts will sound no worse than kids playing

Blasting expert Frank Chiappetta speaks with media while KGHM Ajax senior communications strategist Robert Koopmans hovers nearby prior to the first public information session Monday.

KAMLOOPS – Jumping up and running to answer the phone–that is what it will feel like when a blast from the Ajax mine goes off.

Frank Chiappetta, an explosives applications engineer, is one of the experts KGHM has brought on board to help with the proposed Ajax mine and to address the public during the public information sessions being held this week.

Chiappetta, a 40-year veteran in the industry, says having the mine over two kilometres from the pit provides a good buffer, one quite a bit bigger than some other projects he has worked on.

“It's not a technical challenge, that's actually a nice buffer zone from a blasting perspective,” he says, adding the planned growth of the city to within 1.3 km would still provide ample space between residents and the project.

He also says residents will likely not feel the blasts, nor will the sound from blasting be much worse than anything already heard on a regular basis. He adds the blasting will not sound any louder than the noise heard from children playing at the school during recess.

“The people at the school probably won't feel (or hear) too much,” Chiappetta says of Pacific Way Elementary, one of the closest residential points to the Ajax pit. “That will be well within the ambient levels.”

These answers sound quite different than the answers provided by external affairs manager Yves Lacasse in a letter to council earlier this summer where he compared the vibration level to a truck travelling by at 50 km/h, for those living two kilometres away. He also said the furthest vibrations would be felt is up to four kilometres away.

Chiappetta is joined by experts in water quality, air quality and human health and ecological risk assessment for the information sessions. The experts each provide a short presentation on how tests are conducted and then there is an open mic session so people can ask questions of the experts.

Monday was expected to have the largest turnout, with 100 people registered for the information session, but only a few dozen members of the general public actually showed up. The hall holds 250 people.

Further sessions will take place at the Grand Hall at Thompson Rivers University today and Thursday from 1-5 p.m. and Wednesday from 5-9 p.m. Kamloops Area Preservation Association is also staging a rally for Thursday at 12:30 p.m. at the university.

To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca, call (250)819-3723 or tweet @JennStahn.

News from © iNFOnews, 2013

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