At KGHM International’s Ajax Project, an experienced team of mining professionals is working hard to ensure a proposed copper-gold open pit mine near Kamloops sets the industry’s highest standards. Considering the mine’s location near the city, which has a population of about 85,000 people, nothing less is an option.
The Ajax team will use the most modern technologies along with the best mine design to create a project that minimizes or eliminates potential impacts on the project’s closest city neighbours roughly 2 1/2 kilometres away.
KGHM International redesigned the mine site in 2014 to move many of the project’s facilities, including the tailings storage facility, the primary crusher and rock storage areas, farther away from city homes. The company will use road watering, vacuum and spray systems and covered ore stockpiles to keep dust out of the air. A well-designed road system and a tight mine footprint will reduce truck traffic – the largest generator of dust on a mine site – and lessen diesel emissions. Reclamation will be done at every stage of the project.
The project is currently in the environmental assessment phase, with more than 40 studies underway examining key issues including air and water quality, human health and the possible effects of mine operations on wildlife and birds.
There are many advantages to the Ajax Project’s closeness to an urban centre like Kamloops. To start, the existing infrastructure and the availability of services make economic sense from a project development standpoint.
More importantly, Ajax Project employees work in high-paying jobs in the same community they live in. Most mining and construction professionals these days find jobs in distant camps in northern parts of B.C. and Alberta and spend weeks away from home at a time.
The project is being developed according to a five-year plan. The company intends to submit its application for an environmental permit in mid to late 2015. The provincial and federal approval processes are expected to take six to 12 months. Construction of the mine could be complete by late 2018, meaning copper and gold production would start in 2019.
The mine’s workforce would peak at roughly 1,400 people during construction and employ 400 to 500 full-time staff during operations. The Ajax Project will contribute millions of dollars every year to the local community through direct taxation and the benefits associated with spin-off jobs in supporting industries and trades.
“The mine’s workforce would peak at roughly 1,400 people during construction and employ 400 to 500 full-time staff during operations.”
The Ajax Project also operates a full working ranch on its properties with more than 300 cattle. The ranchers are employees of KGHMI. The Ajax Project will do its best to keep the ranch running during mine operations.
The Ajax Project is committed to making a positive difference in Kamloops, through the work it does with local charities and other community groups.