Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area Near the proposed Ajax Mine Location, British Columbia Phtograph Attribution: By tuchodi - https://www.flickr.com/photos/tuchodi/4043429977/, CC BY
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Proposes to Approve Questionable Environmental Assessment Report for the Ajax Open Pit Mine in Thompson-Nicola 11-14-17
The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and British Columbia Province received comments on a proposal to approve an environmental assessment report for an open-pit gold and copper mine project in the Thomson-Nicola area. The joint federal and provincial report provided a summary of the project description, an environmental assessment report, and proposed environmental conditions. The British Columbia Province Environmental Assessment Office received comments due October 10.
KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. proposes to develop a new mine in Thompson-Nicola area which is expected to process 65,000 tonnes of ore per day (24 million tonnes per year) for export over the next 23 years. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency prepared a questionable report for the project which fell short for a project of this size. The specific details of the environmental impacts of this enormous project were not presented. Studies of impacts to air, soil, and water were proposed to be postponed until later. Although the environmental studies for the project are inadequate to support reasonable decision-making for protection of human health and environment, a final decision by the environmental agency is expected soon.
Environmental Review, Inc. commented that the updated Canadian Environmental Assessment Act of 2012 should be followed instead of the less protective 1992 Act. The environmental group suggested that environmental studies for noise, vibration, air quality, surface and groundwater water quality should occur prior to project approval since they are germane for consideration of environmental impacts. In addition the environmental group noted that the report failed to discuss protection of the nearby Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area and failed to describe what financial assurance mechanism will be established for ensuring that long-term environmental monitoring occurs after the mine closes.
Tom Price, Director of Environmental Review, Inc. said “Environmental studies of the Ajax Mine’s anticipated impacts to air, soil, and groundwater should be completed prior to governmental approval of the environmental assessment report. By deferring the studies, the regulatory oversight approach sidesteps a cumulative impacts evaluation. For a project of this size immediately adjacent to the City of Kamloops, those impacts are likely to be significant.” To view full version of the comments provided by Environmental Review, Inc. comments go to: http://www.envreview.org/index.php/canada/169-comments-provided-to-british-columbia-province-on-the-environmental-assessment-report-for-the-ajax-mine-10-8-17