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NEWS: Scholar warns of water impacts of Ajax mine near Kamloops

The Daily News reports that Dawn Mills, a resident scholar at the University of British Columbia, cautioned a First Nations forum in Kamloops yesterday about the long-term impacts of mines. The article notes, “She outlined half a dozen pending projects in the region as well as New Gold’s operational mine west of Kamloops. Water is key, since its use is extensive when mineral processing is required, she said.”

– Vancouver-based KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. is proposing to develop the Ajax Mine Project, an open-pit copper-gold located partially within the city boundaries of Kamloops. “The Ajax proposal lacks the water cache of New Gold, so it would need additional supply earlier in its development, she said. ‘I would suggest this is the point where there needs to be a critical examination by the Secwepemc community and also by the City of Kamloops on the impact of drawing down water from Kamloops Lake,’ Mills said.”

– Vancouver-based Yellowhead Mining Inc. is proposing the Harper Creek mining project, a copper-gold-silver mine, about 150 kilometres north of Kamloops. “The Harper Creek project near Vavenby will require special management of a high-elevation tailings pond for rock that doesn’t make the copper grade. ‘This is another concern that is important — that these protective dams need to be maintained immemorial after construction.’ …(Adams Lake Indian Band Chief Nelson) Leon and Simpcw Chief Rita Matthew have signed a pact to press for more time and preparation before Yellowhead Mining Inc. is given the green light.”

– Vancouver-based Selkirk Metals/ Imperial Metals want to operate a lead-zinc mine at Ruddock Creek, about 150 kilometres northeast of Kamloops. As we’ve noted in a campaign blog, “There are concerns about the mine contaminating the headwaters of the Adams, Columbia and Thompson rivers. CBC has reported, “The proposed project is located within or near the traditional territory of the Simpcw First Nation, the Adams Lake band, the Little Shuswap band and the Neskonlith band.”

To read about Council of Canadians Kamloops chapter opposition to the Ajax mine – which would be located near Jacko Lake, reroute Peterson Creek, and include a tailings pond which could destroy nearby Inks Lake – please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=15107 and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=6508. You can also ‘Like’ the ‘Stop Ajax Mine’ Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=tn_tnmn#!/stopajaxmine?fref=ts. The October 2012 blog about the Ruddock Creek mine project is at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=17276.

The Daily News article also notes, “Streamlining of environmental assessments and changes in the Fisheries Act (by the Harper government) have raised new concerns about the regulatory process, leading people to question whether projects are being fast-tracked at the expense of the environment.” This article can be read at http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20130201/KAMLOOPS0101/130139947/-1/kamloops01/bands-must-prepare-for-long-term-mine-impacts-lawyer-says.