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.