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Ajax could cost $40,000 per person?

Looking west over the area that would become a waste rock management facility if KGHM Ajax gets the go ahead to build an open pit mine on the outskirts of Kamloops.
September 24, 2014 - 1:56 PM

KAMLOOPS - Economic impact from the proposed Ajax Mine could put the city in the red, to the tune of $6.28 billion, a report being released this week suggests.

Dr. Dennis Karpiak, an internal medicine and respiratory disease specialist, and Ken Blawatt, a former university professor, looked at the ‘hidden costs’ of the mine, which would include increased health care, losses to existing commerce, environmental damage and cleanup as well as loss of government funding.

They say the costs could reach $6.28 billion, compared to the projected economic gain of $2.2 billion forecast by Venture Kamloops. That adds up to a cost of $40,000 per Kamloops resident. The pair has not yet said what time period these numbers are based on, but that information is expected to be available when the full report is released Friday.

Robin Bartlett of KGHM Ajax Mining says it's just too early to be putting those kind of numbers on the project.

"We're in the middle of our environmental assessment, so we're still waiting for facts to come in," she says. "We feel like these are opinions, biased opinions, and are based on assumptions."

The duo points to remediation as a major cost for taxpayers and says the price of the mine is too high.

“On an economic basis and with regard to the well-being of all people in the region, the mine comes at a price too high,” they say in a release. “It is not economically viable for the region.”

KGHM Ajax Mining is expected to submit an environmental application to the Ministry of Environment in the spring and Bartlett says the application will include a look at the potential impacts of the mine: socially, economically and environmentally.

"That's part of what's involved," she says. "We have to look at the potential impact."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © iNFOnews, 2014

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