The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office announced today (Thursday, March 30, 2017) that suspension of the 180-day timeline of the environmental assessment for the mine has been lifted effective Wednesday, March 29.
The process resumes at day 108 of the process, but the EAO will extend the timeline by 110 days to align with the federal review and allow for additional public comment.
“The purpose of the suspension was to fulfill requirements related to Working Group, Aboriginal consultation and public consultation, to EAO’s satisfaction,” the statement on the EAO website said.
“On March 29, 2017, the Environmental Assessment Office lifted the suspension, resuming the provincial timeline on day 108 of the Application review period.”
“The Environmental Assessment Office has also extended the 180–day provincial review by an additional 110 days to align with the federal review timeline and allow for an additional public comment period on the joint assessment report and draft conditions.”
KGHM Ajax asked for the suspension, which was granted last May 4, so it could answer further questions about the project that were raised after its initial application. Kevin Jardine, the EAO’s executive director, says in a letter to KGHM International that KGHM Ajax has satisfied requirements.
“With the timeline extension, the provincial application review phase is expected to conclude by September 26, 2017,” Jardine’s letter says.
He says the key process steps will include:
• Consultation with the technical working group members and Aboriginal groups on draft referral materials.
• Joint consultation with Aboriginal groups on potential impacts of the mine on their interests.
• A 30-day public comment period.
• Consideration of the comments received.
After the project is referred to the provincial ministers responsible, they will have 45 days to make a decision.
The announcement comes as the Stk’emlúpsemc te Secwépemc Nation announced today that more First Nations groups will gather Saturday to support it in its opposition to the mine.
The extended timeline may or may not give the City more time to take an official position on the mine, as it has been waiting for the process to re-start before council receives a report from SLR Consulting. The council plans to hold special meetings to deal with the report.
Below is Jardine’s letter: