SUNDAY MORNING EDITORIAL — Something is bothering some of the residents of Cherry Creek. They’re just not sure what it is.
Ronaye Elliott, the Thompson Nicola Regional District director for the area that covers Cherry Creek, told a board meeting a couple of weeks ago that she had received complaints about rattling cups and cracked foundations since New Gold started blasting at its underground New Afton mine site.
She asked that the board invite New Gold representatives to come to a meeting to explain what was going on. At the very next meeting, which was Friday, mine general manager Kurt Keskimaki and Scott Davidson, environment and social responsibility manager, were there.
Using a Powerpoint with statistics and maps and charts, they made their case that New Gold hasn’t been the cause of the vibrations nor of damage. They said New Afton maintains a detailed record of all blasts including the amount of explosives used, collecting real-time vibration and micro seismic data.
The terminology used by miners isn’t always easy to understand. They talk in terms of peak particle velocity, units of mm/s and such, but Keskimaki and Davidson did their best to explain it, and it made good sense.
It left Elliott caught in the middle. She had taken a concern of her constituents to the board, which in turn took it to the mine, which acted promptly with an explanation. The explanation refutes the notion that vibrations from mine blasting is causing problems at nearby homes.
Elliott was satisfied with New Gold’s response, but is still trying to be the voice of her constituents. She’s doing her job.
It was unfortunate that, after having lodged complaints and pointed the finger, no Cherry Creek residents showed up at the TNRD meeting to hear the explanation. They’ll have another opportunity at a special community meeting next week at the New Afton site.
This might all seem like a case of over-reaction and finger pointing but, on the other hand, it’s also a case of a process that has worked. With New Afton ruled out, residents are still left having to identify the real cause, but at least the first possibility has been ruled out.