ROTHENBURGER – Reflections on Ajax: there’s got to be a better way


(Image: Mel Rothenburger.)

WORD THAT a decision on Ajax was imminent came as a surprise Thursday afternoon. Most everybody had thought B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman and Mines Minister Michelle Mungall wouldn’t make an announcement until the new year.

There was, after all, a pile of stuff to read after six years of rancorous public debate, report after study after report, and starts and stutters in the review process.

But, they let it be known during the lunch hour that they’d announce their decision at 2 p.m., and they did.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (7625 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.

4 Comments on ROTHENBURGER – Reflections on Ajax: there’s got to be a better way

  1. Yes there is a better way, really it is very simple. The Mining Acts across Canada should contain restrictions that do not permit open pit mining within a predetermined distance from populated areas that have been settled in advance of any mineral exploration. Let the Scientific Community study this and come up with an appropriate distance that should keep the residents safe from any possible harm.
    Base metals and silver remain in abundance world wide both recycled and in mineral form yet to be explored and extradited, global demand will be met for the foreseeable future without the need to operate dangerous open pits next to communities.
    The exercise known as KGHM/Ajax Mine in Kamloops BC was a colossal waste of money and time, not just by KGHM et al, but by governments in BC and Canada and the tax payers who finance these governments, plus it was an unnecessary adventure in emotional division by people who really cared regardless of what side of the business case they were on.
    In the case of Ajax the correct conclusion was reached, it is just so very regrettable that a foreign copper miner was permitted to advance the subject in the beginning and to the degree they did, given the obvious.

  2. Building upon Mr. Rothenburger’s final comment;

    “Most of all, I wonder why we had to endure six years as a community spending time and money and fighting over this.”

    No doubt those who fought tooth-and-nail to prevent the mine from materializing are likely Ajaxed out. For a group of volunteers to stay together, focused and tenacious for six long years is incredible. Try as they would, Ajax couldn’t grind them down. These weren’t paid positions.

    Yet the job isn’t over. Those experiences and lessons learn the hard way over the past six years will be lost unless someone/group picks up the baton and leads the charge before the Community has rally once again. It shouldn’t have to be way, for either side.

    Wonder if the Kamloops Voters Society wouldn’t want to dust off the cobwebs and become the catalyst to bring parties together?

  3. Went up past Pipsell on the Goose Lake road today. A long, cold, wonderful ride on my bicycle.
    Never felt so motivated, so enthusiastic, so gorgeously alive despite the cold, achy extremities! That frozen landscape, dotted by centuries old Douglas Firs…heavenly indeed!
    Thank you, Mel Rothenburger and to all other Kamloops people that took the time to express their opposition to an unprecedented and implausible proposal.

  4. Raymond Chatelin // December 16, 2017 at 11:21 AM // Reply

    That mine would have defined this city for the next 50 years and would have condemned it to the past century. Instead of being a city with a 21st Century identity (we’re one of the most fibre-optic wired cities in the Interior) Kamloops would have been just another mining town east of Vancouver. At least the city now has the opportunity of becoming whatever it chooses, rather than having a corporation defining its future.

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