AJAX – Newspaper advertising praising mine assessment process draws fire

Photo from Ajax ‘sponsored content’ ad in Kamloops This Week.

Newspaper advertising praising the environmental assessment for the proposed Ajax copper mine near Kamloops is drawing more fire.

The Kamloops Area Preservation Association issued a statement today (April 18, 2017) saying “boastful” assertions that the environmental assessment for the Ajax mine proposal is setting new standards for review of mining projects in B.C. are “nothing more than propaganda with little or no substance.”

“First of all, it is well known that B.C.’s mining codes are the weakest of almost every mining jurisdiction in the western world, and secondly, KGHM’s treatment of local residents and First Nations is nothing more than an insult,” KAPA spokesperson John Schleiermacher said in the release.

His comments are in response to advertisements in Kamloops This Week about Ajax. The ads, presented in the form of news stories, are called “sponsored content” and are labeled as such at the top of the article. The use of sponsored content, which is akin to newspaper “advertorials” or “advertising features,” is becoming common in digital media. 

“As the end of the review process for the Ajax Project draws nears, one thing is clear — the environmental assessment for the proposed gold-and-copper mine has been one of the most comprehensive for a mining project in B.C.’s history,” one of ads begins. It’s headlined, ‘Ajax Project environmental assessment sets new standards for review of mining projects in B.C.’

The other ad is headlined ‘Suppressing 90 per cent of road dust at Ajax is ‘no mystery’.’

Schleiermacher said local opponents are lining up to support the SSN First Nation full panel review, which recently declared opposition to Ajax, and also the “Request for Establishment of a Judicial Commission of Public Inquiry to Rectify and Improve B.C. Mining Regulation” sent to Premier Christy Clark March 8 by the University of Victoria Environmental Law Centre and Fair Mining Collaborative in a joint request.

While the Ajax ad mentions that “many groups” have all thoroughly and extensively reviewed the application, asking questions and seeking clarification along the way, “in reading the recent responses that the company has provided to these questions, it is clear that many issues and concerns have gone unanswered,” he said.

One of the ads states that “the task of deciding whether to issue an environmental certificate ultimately falls on elected leaders, who will weigh the potential impacts to the environment against the Ajax Project’s benefits and decide what is in the public’s best interest.”

It’s critical that KGHM and the B.C. Environmental Assessment Process and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency all “take the risks and responsibilities of the environmental process seriously before turning it over for a political decision,” Schleiermacher said.


About Mel Rothenburger (5878 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

10 Comments on AJAX – Newspaper advertising praising mine assessment process draws fire

  1. Lawrence, a poll was conducted by the Armchair Mayor. It was up for several days and the final results reported that Carvers had 44% while Stone had 28%. To see the final results you will need to go to the archives. Currently they are polling the Northshore riding, it shows the NDP leading by a small margin.
    I am taking bets that the Queen and her Court (Liberals) will lose both ridings on May 9, simply, they have over stayed their welcome and too much power over too long a period, corrupts.

  2. Fools Gold // April 18, 2017 at 9:23 PM // Reply

    If it wasnt meant to fool non critical readers, why was its content not simply an ad like every other ad in newspaper?

  3. It is clearly labelled “sponsored content”. However considering the bitter divisiveness this controversial proposal has caused and questionable community engagement practices the proponent has undertook to date, KTW should’ve abstained from taking money and refrained itself from becoming a propaganda medium.

  4. Now what we need is a rebuttal from KGHM.

  5. tony brumell // April 18, 2017 at 4:58 PM // Reply

    I believe Trump calls this paid content “Fake news”
    In the same vein Mr Evans in his letter to KTW says that KGHM has stayed the coarse and he is right.The very first thing that KGHM tried to bamboosle the public with was the fist line of it ‘s first brochure where they lied and said” The mine” was 10 km from Kamloops.In its latest iteration of the application toEAO/Ceaa It says that Road dust (only) will be mitigated by over 90%.Early on they let the public believe that Peter Reid could mitigate all dust by 93%.And In Mr. Evans letter he also says that it has been “proven viable”.This is of course “fake news” .The body of mineralized material has never been mineable at a profit. Even AFTON had to shut it down for want of profiability. In fact, as of today the price of copper makes it unprofitable to mine even before they spend 1.6 billion develope the infrastructure.
    Any body got 1.6 billion to invest for a zero return?Call me I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

  6. Actually John it does carry a label saying it is ” sponsored ” content. In two places no less. Go back and have a look.

    • When did “Sponsored” content become the replacement for Advertisement, if you pay to advertise isn’t it an advertisement ? The term, Sponsored Content is misleading at best.

  7. Sponsor Content which is used by KTW should carry a label to let it’s readers know that it is nothing more than a paid advertisement, the latest advertisement published by KTW is by KGHM telling us how great their management of dust will be and how great their consultant’s Air Quality Model is, and Kamloops should accept that it will be well protected.
    Wonder if the final report from the City’s SLR Consultant will support the Ajax advertisement, we don’t have long too wait.
    Also interesting that the Green Party is ahead of Todd Stone and the Liberals in Kamloops South according to the poll results thus far, maybe a nasty surprise. Ajax is exceedingly important to the voters in Aberdeen and there are a lot of votes in this district.

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