Ajax mine opponents challenge economics of project – by Derrick Penner (Vancouver Sun – April 18, 2016)


Environmental opponents to the KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. proposal for an open pit mine near Kamloops are questioning whether the project will wind up being a marginal operation subject to early closure, according to a recent report.

The Kamloops Area Preservation Association, with the group Mining Watch, added an economic component to their case against the mine, arguing that company estimates for long-term prices of its key products are too high and costs too low, which could affect its long-term viability.

Those groups made their case in a report, characterized as an economic risk analysis, which was in their filings to the B.C. environmental assessment process.  “Copper is in trouble and this (mine proposal) isn’t different from others,” said Joan Kuyek, the analyst who prepared the report, who is the founding national co-ordinator for Mining Watch Canada.

For its part, the company dismissed the assessment by KAPA and Mining Watch, pointing out that the proposed mine would cost more than $1-billion to build and “it would be foolish to move forward with such an investment without solid assurance and confidence in the project’s economic prospects.”

KGHM Ajax, a consortium of Poland-based KGHM International and Vancouver firm Abacus Mining & Exploration Corp., is proposing a $1.3-billion open-pit copper mine, which would produce 140 million pounds of copper and 130,000 ounces of gold annually over its mine life, stated as 18 years in a Feb. 19 update to its feasibility study.

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