An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT we were rid of Ajax, it’s back. Maybe.
Yes, Abacus Mining, a minority owner in the proposed open-pit copper and gold mine just south of the Kamloops city limits, says the project isn’t dead.
Abacas and KGHM are looking at the possibility of resubmitting an environmental permit application, the junior partner says.
We all feared Ajax might come back to haunt us; we just hoped upon hope it wouldn’t happen, and certainly not so soon.
It’s been a little more than a year since the welcome news that the federal government had rejected the mine project based on negative environmental impacts. The decision by the feds followed one by the provincial government several months earlier for similar reasons.
The prospect of a 1,700-hectare open pit mine on the city’s doorstep divided the residents of Kamloops and the surrounding region for a half dozen years. We talked of little else. Things became bitter as the pros and the cons waged a war of words.
Kamloops City council opposed the mine. Environmental groups opposed the mine. First Nations opposed the mine. Hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of studies were done on the environmental, social and economic impacts of it.
It seemed at times as though those opposed to the project were like David taking on Goliath. In the end, David won.
Despite that victory, the process was deeply stressful.
And now Ajax, it appears, is back on the table. Maybe it won’t amount to anything, but there shouldn’t even be a remote possibility. Building mines next door to cities, or any populated areas, should never be contemplated.
The message to mining companies who try it should be loud and clear: we don’t want you here.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.