LETTER – Independent monitor can’t provide the oversight needed on Ajax

Dear Kamloops Acting Mayor and City Councilors:

I have a few final thoughts and this May 18, 2017 Kamloops This Week Letter to the Editor by Dr. Jill Calder to share with you.   In days you will deliver your vote as to whether the City of Kamloops supports the KGHM Ajax Mine proposal.   Although I am a member of Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment Society, I am writing to you today of my own initiative.   This email is copied to Dr. Calder out of respect to her.   There has been no collaboration as to the email content.

Is it realistic that the City of Kamloops and the BC Government can contract, with accepted terms, and pay for an Independent Monitor for the Ajax Mine Project?   In what exact instances has such a situation been conducted successfully in BC or in Canada?   What would the BC Auditor General say?   What specific examples does SLR provide?   Such monitoring was the key condition for the Ajax Mine approval recommended by SLR.   Although I agree with SLR’s stance, I do not think that it will be technically nor financially possible for an independent monitor (person or group of experts) to provide such oversight from permitting to closure of the Ajax Mine.   Also, despite hawk’s eyes on KGHM Ajax and offer by SLR to use their experts to make corrections to their submission, KGHM Ajax still performed the dark sky assessment poorly.   As an analogy, would KGHM Ajax respond fully and respectfully in a timely fashion to feedback given by an independent monitor, if they didn’t act on criticism by colleagues SLR despite having had a year to update the dark sky assessment?

With regards to critiques of the KGHM Ajax air modeling provided by Environment Canada, Mr. Ralph Adams, and SLR, I fully agree that the use of constant emission factors year-round do not allow for modeling of peak dust emissions during high wind, dry, and warm weather conditions.   This was the point I tried to make and ask of Mr. Peter Reid during the February 2016 public information session.   The YouTube link is in my blog post response to this Letter to the Editor linked above.   I do not think the question of maximum hour-after-hour or day-after-day dust emissions and secondary health impacts has been answered to a satisfactory degree.   Just because there are no guidelines for less than 24 hour pm2.5 and pm10 emissions, doesn’t make such peak air pollution occurring over hours acceptable.   In practical terms, will there be moments during which residents and/or students will be advised to stay indoors?

In April 2016 I sent you an email about ethics, liability, and security of person issues pertaining to the Ajax Mine proposal.   Please read this email and its attachments again.   My same concerns hold even now, after 15 months.

Without completion of a full economic impact assessment, how do you know what KGHM International can really afford?   Can they afford to mitigate fugitive haul road dust at “90%” for 24/7, for 20 plus years, for example?   Please see the articles I reference in my blog responses to the above linked Letter to the Editor as examples of concerns about KGHM’s recent financial health.

Finally, SLR has recommended that there be a Community Liaison Group as part of the conditions for Project approval.   As much as such an oversight group sounds ideal, I do not think it would be able to function to the satisfaction of everyone involved.   Also, who would pay the members?   How would members be selected?   How would members be retained over 20+ years?   Please read the chain of blog post responses to the above linked Letter to the Editor.   There is lack of civil discourse by some posters.   There are illogical and personal attacks made.  It is my opinion that there would be ongoing fracturing of our community with the Ajax project in production.   I would not want to be part of this.

Yours sincerely,

Dr. Jennifer L. Takahashi, MD FRCPC


About Mel Rothenburger (5775 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.

3 Comments on LETTER – Independent monitor can’t provide the oversight needed on Ajax

  1. Give a dog a bone? This is ridiculous, New Alton is almost as close and the ‘dust’ will (and does) travel nearly as far! Blah blah blah
    NewGold must chuckle everyday in regards to the little attention they are getting! Just the same as Ajax will when they are up and running and the attention is focused on the next project, idea, or proposed industry.
    Dust happens! Especially in the desert!

  2. Michael Kachur // July 16, 2017 at 9:27 PM // Reply

    Ajax is a must for the community and will not cause as much air pollution nor as bad air quality than what Kamloops has been going through for the last week and a half. Dust from a road or mine (IMO) is not nearly as fatal or unhealthy than the smoke we are breathing in the last few days. Our Air quality last week for one day was worse than Beijing China, and they have the worst air quality in the world.

    • Kamloops needs Ajax like we need to have a big drag on a cigarette. As is clearly evidenced by our already strained airshed, we need fewer sources of junk in our air, not more.

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