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Zero harm not possible with mine
Re: The Aug. 22 letter from Yves Lacasse of KGHM Ajax (‘Zero harm is a core value of KGHM Ajax’):
Lacasse has crafted a letter that appears to address community concerns about the proposed mine’s proximity to Kamloops. Plans to host four “community-information sessions” from Sept. 9 to Sept. 12 are based on the notion those who are opposed to the mine are uninformed and should “learn more about the research being done to assess potential impacts.”
My impression is that either Lacasse does not fully understand the magnitude and nature of public concern or he is choosing to downplay and minimize the concerns. In any case, I hope the following information can lead to a more meaningful response from KGHM Ajax.
Lacasse acknowledges “there are concerns on the part of some Kamloops residents.”
At the end of the letter, he expresses his hope that “all who have concerns will take the opportunity to attend one of the sessions . . .”
We are told “zero harm is one of KGHM’s core values, observed and followed at our operations around the world.” If this is truly the case, I look forward to hearing about how this “value” has been put into practice at other locations and how they have measured their success. Do residents living near their operations agree there is “zero harm”?
My understanding is that KGHM’s “intention to evaluate and potentially reconfigure” its operation was prompted by the discovery of more mineral deposits.
I do not recall proximity to Kamloops neighbourhoods as contributing to that decision. Will the location of the pit be changed? Will its size be reduced? How do the changes being considered translate into measurable benefits to Kamloops?
Lacasse assures us that a series of studies are underway to examine potential effects of mine operations “and propose solutions to mitigate or eliminate impacts.” The key word here is mitigate or “reduce the severity of.” This seems in direct contradiction to KGHM’s professed value of “zero harm.”
I am certain technical experts presenting at the forums are very capable and will demonstrate the comprehensiveness of their investigation. However, simply agreeing to conduct investigations does not, in itself, amount to “taking concerns seriously.”
Much information about the negative effects associated with living near an open-pit mine is already available in reputable peer-reviewed journals. I have yet to see credible evidence that “zero harm” is achievable.
In spite of Lacasse’s soothing comments, I do not believe KGHM Ajax has the best interests of Kamloops residents (present and future) at heart.
In my view, a morally responsible corporation would never have proposed an open pit mine so close to a populated area in the first place. KGHM Ajax is simply taking advantage of antiquated mining laws that allow them to get away with it.