Chamber backs local business after councillor strikes out because of Ajax support

KAMLOOPS - A letter signed by local business people in support of the proposed Ajax Mine has come under fire recently, but not everyone feels the move to offer support to the mine is as premature as one councillor seems to think.

The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce is challenging Coun. Denis Walsh's opinion that business support for the proposed mine is not considering a potential environmental impact.

In a column titled Ajax and dust for dollars for the June 8 edition of Kamloops This Week, Walsh suggested the letter signed by 42 Kamloops business owners in support of the mine  was premature given a government-mandated environmental assessment has yet to be applied for by the Poland-based mining company. 

“These 42 business lobbyists are apparently ready, confident and willing to roll the dice on our behalf,” Walsh said. "They have sent this letter unabashedly supporting the proposed mine prior to KGHM Ajax filing the permit application and prior to an (environmental) ruling. This letter communicates a full-steam-ahead attitude with no cautionary concerns for negative environment impacts."

Steve Earl, president of the chamber’s board of directors, issued a statement this week reaffirming support for KGHM Ajax Mining, but notes there are strings attached.

"Our Board of Directors will continue to support the KGHM Ajax proposal, but this will remain contingent on a positive environmental review,” he says in the release. "We believe (the business-owners were) trying to make a point, one which the Kamloops Chamber holds as well, that to ensure we continue to have a thriving economy, new opportunities must be developed to offset these losses. KGHM Ajax has the potential to be just such a development, but only if it can be operated in a manner that meets the modern environmental standards that Canada has and should be proud of."

Coun. Walsh was unavailable for further comment today, June 25.

While the 42 names on the letter in support of the mine have been made public, the Kamloops Area Preservation Association says many more have sent letters to the ministry opposing the mine. Those names have not been made public.

KGHM plans to submit its environmental application for the proposed mine this summer. If approved the open-pit copper-gold mine will be located immediately southwest of city.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Glynn Brothen at, or call 250-319-7494. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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