Opponents of a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine near Kamloops, B.C. have lauded the province’s decision to withhold an environmental assessment certificate, but an expert says it might be too early for them to celebrate.
Mining law specialist Patricia Dawn Mills, who teaches at Lakehead University and the University of British Columbia’s law school and consulted with the First Nations who opposed the mine, says she thinks the decision was the right one, but added the project is far from over.
“We’re not finished with [the Ajax mine]. This is a blip on the way,” Mills said.And it’s been a long way indeed.
The 1,700-hectare open-pit mine has been a beacon for controversy ever since it was floated as an idea in 2006, when KGHM International, a subsidiary of Polish company KGHM Polska Miedźthat, began pushing the $1.3-billion project forward.
At the time, many nearby residents voiced concerns about the mine’s proximity to a dozen schools, a hospital and four seniors’ homes. Residents were worried about the mine’s environmental impact on the lake and water catchment levels.
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