AJAX – ‘Heightened uncertainties’ on air quality, health, says SLR’s final report
A short excerpt from the SLR Consulting final report on the Ajax mine application released by the City today (June 13, 2017). The full 70-page report is available online on the City’s website:
“In general, KGHM expended considerable effort in compiling the Environmental Assessment Application and the Technical Supporting Documents for the Project. It is consistent with our experience and expectations for a project of this size and complexity.
“In terms of the confidence or certainty of the Project conclusions, our findings are generally consistent with those of KGHM with respect to aquatic environments and species, acoustics and vibration, water balance, accidents and malfunctions, municipal infrastructure, and some of the socio-economic conclusions.
“Where we have heightened uncertainties and/or low confidence in the Environmental Assessment Application conclusions are found in the technical assessments for air quality, human health, dark sky, water quality, terrestrial environments and species, and some socio-economic conclusions.
“Not all of these uncertainties directly relate to potential impacts with the City of Kamloops boundaries; some relate to amenities used by City of Kamloops residents such as recreational pursuits that would include Jacko Lake or the Stake Lake Observatory.”
(More to come)
Having been involved in the Ajax assessment for the past 6 years as a member of the Community Advisory Group, and having read the Application, the responses to the many deficiencies identified in the Application, the SSN hearing documents, the Ajax feasibility studies and many other studies involving open pit mining, I am disappointed, but not surprised, that there remain many gaps in the scientific evidence, some inadvertent, some understandable, some deliberate, regarding the Ajax project. One gap is the lack of disclosure of assay data, which tells us a lot about the geochemical make up of the rock that will be exposed to the environment. KAM filed a large amount of assay data with the Ministry of Mines in September 2016. Due to a one year non-disclosure regulation, this evidence will not be public until this September, too late for it to be analyzed for assessment purposes because the final assessment document is currently being written by the government assessment agencies.
Those waiting for the evidence to make up their minds about Ajax should also be disappointed because they are going to have to wait until the mine is in operation to know what the impacts will really be. In other words, the Ajax mine is really in the realm of an experiment with the health and property values of the citizens of Kamloops. Given the low level of predictive confidence of the air and water quality models, do we need this gamble with our health? The Kamloops economy is flourishing without the mine. We don’t need the risks and uncertainties posed by this mine. It is time to respect the decision made by the SSN to turn this mine down.
Thank you Mel.
You have provided a succinct precis and analysis.
“Generally consistent with those of the KGHM” However, the headline of course reads “Heightened uncertainties on air quality/health…….despite the fact that it goes on to say not all of these uncertainties relate to potential impacts with the City of Kamloops. I guess we all spin it the way we want to spin it.
The part that’s “generally consistent” with KGHM findings are “aquatic environments and species, acoustics and vibration, water balance accidents and malfunctions, municipal infrastructure and some socio-economic conclusions.” The “heightened uncertainties and/or low confidence” has to do with “technical assessments for air quality, human health, dark sky, water quality, terrestrial environments and species, and some socio-economic conclusions.” It’s not an exercise in which to compare the number of “generally consistent” items with low-confidence ones, and declare the column with the most check marks the winner.