'Shallow' letter a small step, not enough - InfoNews

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'Shallow' letter a small step, not enough

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.
May 08, 2013 - 11:13 AM

KGHM response to Ajax questions offer little information

Kamloops city council sounded off about a letter from KGHM Ajax meant to answer questions asked of the proponent two years ago, calling the responses a range of things - from less than useless to shallow to a poor excuse. Essentially the only thing council did not call it was informative.

The response, released to the public last week, has garnered criticism about the lack of answers actually given. Former mayor Mel Rothenburger quipped on Twitter the letter taught him “how to say 'I'm still quantifying it' when asked a question.”

As the only two councillors openly opposed to the proposed Ajax mine, Donovan Cavers and Tina Lange once again took the stance of questioning the process and the information actually provided by the company.

Cavers said he is not comfortable accepting the assessments of the company on whether the impacts are acceptable or not.

“If they have enough information to draw their conclusions they could pass it on to us now, otherwise these are not answers, they are determinations made by the company to essentially preempt the conclusions we would draw ourselves when the actual application comes out, this is worse than useless.”

Mayor Peter Milobar addressed the concerns of council about test blasting and noted when he personally asked Abacus Mining, the previous proponent before KGHM took over, about them doing a full blast so the city could conduct tests he was told no, the company had the information they needed.

Lange said she is still concerned about how far away vibrations will be felt and noted people in Logan Lake feel the blasting vibrations from Highland Valley Copper 17 kilometers away, making it a reasonable question to ask of KGHM. She said their answer is facts and figures that don't give an actual answer.

“Blah, blah, blah. What have they said there? We will feel the vibrations right down to my house in downtown or what?”

City staffer Jen Fretz said she too did not know what they were saying and agreed to ask them to clarify those details. Lange is also concerned about future mineral claims, which in the letter the company says they have no plan to go beyond the existing footprint, yet literature for investors had previously mentioned future mineral claims and expansion.

“If you're telling your investors that you plan to expand – then you plan to expand.”

Coun. Nelly Dever, noted KGHM continues to use other mines as examples as to why Ajax will work in Kamloops, but refuse to give related information or studies.

Fretz said the city has not specifically requested studies on human health at other mines, either reclaimed or in operation, and believes it would be a tough sell to get the answers back on that type of request.

“When ever we've asked for comparative information, they've been very reluctant to give that information because according to the answers we've received all the mines are different, all mines are independent, are specific to climate, topography.”

Dever said this is a “poor excuse, whenever we ask a question, and they feel they have their backs up against the wall they use the reasoning we've done it with these other mines before. We should be able to get that information.”

Christian was pleased Yves Lacasse of KGHM took his request to get more information to council seriously but still felt the answers given fall short.

“I asked him to start getting some of this information out and I think they've made an attempt to do that. Coun. Cavers characterizes it as next to useless, I would characterize it perhaps as shallow – I think we're on the same side of the equation.”


To contact a reporter for this story, email jstahn@infotelnews.ca or call (250)819-3723.


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