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KGHM and City of Kamloops on speaking terms again

April 12, 2016 - 10:26 AM

KAMLOOPS - The City of Kamloops and KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. are back at the table to discuss a community benefit agreement.

Discussions stalled last week between the city and the mining proponent, but during a joint press conference this morning, April 12, Mayor Peter Milobar and project manager Clyde Gillespie announed the two sides have reopened discussions.

Milobar said after a letter from KGHM saying it was backing out of community benefit agreement negotiations was sent last week, he met with Gillespie to look at restarting discussions.

"KGHM and myself felt it was wise to have a meeting and just try to see if there wasn't some way to re-engage with the project and Kamloops and City Hall in some capacity so we're pleased that discussion with KGHM will continue," Milobar said, adding items like mitigation and road networks will be discussed.

Milobar said the meetings will go forward as an ancilliary conversation, and the subject or schedule of the meetings has not been set, though he will be contacting Councillors Dieter Dudy and Ken Christian to rejoin the discussions.

While discussions are back on the table, Gillespie said the mine's proponent is not taking back the letter they sent to Kamloops city council.

"We're still very much in the camp that we have to preserve the B.C. (Environmental Assessment Office) process. What we're trying to do today is find a way to still preserve that process but do what's in the best interest and to care for the community."

The press conference was held in the morning to preempt the afternoon's council meeting where the letter would be discussed. Milobar noted the announcement's timing has nothing to do with the ending of the environmental assesment public comment period yesterday.

The proposed Ajax Mine is currently in the environmental assesment portion of its application. The federal and provincial environmental ministries will make a decision this summer to approve the application, deny it or ask for more information before making a decision.

If approved, the proposed open-pit copper and gold mine will operate immediately southwest of the city.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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