Kamloops council delays making a decision on Ajax Mine

Image Credit: KGHM Ajax Mining Inc.

KAMLOOPS - City councillors have decided to delay their decision whether or not to lend support to the proposed Ajax Mine.

A meeting was scheduled for Monday, May 9, where council was to make a decision on their support for the potential mine, but during council meeting today, May 3, they chose to delay it for a later, undetermined date.

Administration recommended the motion because it’s likely the application review will be extended or suspended by the provincial environmental assessment office after a request from KGH Ajax Mining Inc.

The mining company requested an extension or suspension of the mine’s environmental application review, saying they need more time to better answer questions from working groups, First Nations groups and public comments.

Public works director Jen Fretz told council the assessment office assured the city their comments and decision will still be allowed no matter how the delays and extensions play out. The city’s chief administrator, David Trawin, noted the intent is for administration to come back to council next week with a better idea on the application timeline.

Councillors did raise concerns about the community’s confidence in their elected leaders due to perceived indecision and uncertainty in the city’s future, but the majority decided to delay the decision to allow the hired consultants to return with more information.

"I recognize having the right answers and a fulsome process are the most important things because we want to know what to expect," Coun. Marg Spina said during the meeting.

The motion was supported by councillors Spina, Pat Wallace, Dieter Dudy and Ken Christian.

Councillors Denis Walsh, Donovan Cavers and Arjun Singh voted against the motion. Singh and Cavers said they needed a firm date, instead of an undefined timeline, while Walsh said his recent trip east has solidified his anti-Ajax opinion and he thinks council has sat on its hands too long.

Mayor Peter Milobar and Coun. Tina Lange are currently in Ontario visiting an open-pit mine in Sudbury to see the effects of an open-pit mine first hand.

If approved, the proposed copper and gold mine will operate just southwest of the city’s border. It’s currently under environmental application review by the provincial and federal assessment offices, which will make a decision to either approve or deny the mine after the review period is over. Alternatively, they can also request more information, as it did last week, before making a decision.

Read more on the proposed Ajax Mine here.

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