Kamloops News

Efforts underway to breathe life back into Kamloops’s Ajax mine

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO

The junior partner in the controversial Ajax mine project has opened an office in Kamloops as a renewed effort to get the mine back on track is underway.

It was almost three years ago when, on Dec. 17, 2017, the provincial government rejected the proposed mine.

“Despite this setback, KGHM in consultation with Abacus has continued to work to advance the project, including evaluating various strategies geared toward potentially resubmitting the environmental application,” a news release from Abacus stated today, Dec. 3.

Abacus Mining & Exploration Corporation has a 20 per cent share in the mine while KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. owns 80 per cent. Abacus opened an office in Kamloops about two weeks ago.

“This follows the appointment in September of a new Ajax superintendent, who has begun the task of First Nation, community and governmental engagement,” the release reads.

READ MORE: Provincial government rejects proposed Ajax mine

The proposed 1,700-hectare open-pit gold and copper mine is approximately 10 kilometres southwest of Kamloops.

A federal/provincial review of the project started in 2011 and culminated in 2017 when the provincial government refused to issue an environmental assessment certificate for the project. That rejection came after the City of Kamloops approved a $3.8 million yearly benefits agreement in principle with KGHM.

In August of that year, council lashed out after the federal/provincial environmental review assessment was released.

"To say I'm disappointed is too mild and quite frankly I'm horrified at what the Environmental Assessment Office put out," Kamloops city councillor Tina Lange said at the time. "It's as if whatever we decided as a council which represents 90,000 people was just a comment that meant nothing. They didn't even talk about it."

The Kamloops Area Preservation Association also spoke out against the joint review.

READ MORE: Kamloops city council votes 'no' to Ajax mine

"In the assessment they didn't consider cumulative effects," legal director Calvin Sandborn said at the time. "They looked at potential impacts on the nearest receptor from the closest potential contamination site, but not the impacts from all the potential sources of contamination at the mine."

In the end, the provincial environment and energy ministers stepped up and rejected the project.

The ministers noted key findings from the environmental assessment including adverse effects in areas like air quality and human well-being, on Jacko Lake and the surrounding area, social and economic value components, along with grasslands and ecosystems.

Find past stories on Ajax here.

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