Ajax - good or bad - a miner's view

Kamloops Daily News
December 18, 2012 01:00 AM

I have had the opportunity to spend the last three plus years of my life in the mining industry. I have read countless articles both pro and con regarding the proposed Ajaxmine. I wanted to take some time and give you some of my thoughts and realities in today's mining world.

Environmental issues are a great concern, and so they should be, however, the rules and laws by the government arestrictly enforced. If there is a spill of any kind it is immediately dealt with. Be it large or small, fuel, oil, or any other containment's that hit the ground, are immediately contained. All equipment carries spill kits and a dam is built around the spill. Soaking pads immediately put in place. The spill is then covered by a layer of anti-spill eliminator. The spill is then, including the dirt,removed andplaced in hazard waste containers. Spills are then reported to the Minister of Mining.

As for blasts and ensuing dust, let me reassure you, dust is minimal. These blasts are taken very seriously both environmentally,and more important safely. We are given daily information regarding blasts in our morning safety meetings; we are then given the one hour blast warning. At this time all equipment and personnel in the blast circle are then immediatelymoved to a safety zone. We are not allowed to return in until the command is given that all is safe to resume work. Water trucks are then employed to minimize dust.

Let's talk about dust for a little. As we all know Kamloops is in a semi-ariddesert climate and with our prevailing winds, we will have dust. Our beautiful city is built on glacial till. Once disturbed it turns into a powder almost impossible to eliminate. Whether you are building a house or large project, dust will occur. Interesting thought, you don't blast glacial till, only rock. Hmmm.

Now let's talk about environmental issues. Will there be some? Yes. Will they be closely monitored by mine managers and the Ministry? Absolutely. Let's call a spade a spade; we have been sucking down fumes from the pulp mill forever. I have boated down river, and seen what is poured in to our river each day. Would I drink it? No. I see our smoke stack that carries the flumes up the mountain out of are city. I also have witnessed countless inversions that retain the fumes as it is carried by winds, right back down for us to breathe. When selling homes in our fine city to clients from out of our district, how many times was I asked what that odour is? My answer was, that is the smell of money. Have you ever actually boated by our cities sewage ponds which drain into our river? Would you drink it? I'm sure your answer is no.

Some will say that driving by the mines when coming into our city will not look appealing. Drive by and see the attentionspent to neatness and appeal. Then look up and seethe mushroom cloud hovering over our city ceiling. Wow.

I am not picking on the pulp mill or the city, the fact is we don't live in a perfect world. There is a cost involvedto create,whether building a city or urban area. It is a cost ofproceeding forwardwith or lives, with a way to make a living to sustain what we have become accustomed to. Will it be perfect? No. Is it necessary? You tell me.

Kamloops, the world, for that matter needsjobs to survive. We might not be as pretty as Kelowna, although, I will vehemently argue that. Would I move to Kelowna? I am a Kamloopsianfirst and damn proud of it.

Let's talk economy. We are all well aware that Ajax will create many hundreds of jobs, good jobs. They will train you well, pay you a great wage and create an extremely safe atmosphere in which to work. Your benefits willallow youto remain as healthy as possible, have your teeth, eyes, hearing cared for by our health system, with minimal costs out our pockets. For people that have not the opportunity to go to university, there will be great paying jobs, not just for you but for our children. Also, interesting enough the five different mines I have worked do notdiscriminate hiring you because you are middle age. In some cases they prefer the stableness of older workers.

The spinoff from Ajax will createneededbenefits for existing business and create lots of opportunities for huge economic growth for our city. Want to buy a home, a car, perhaps two (double garage), furniture, food, have a family, live like you hoped you could? It is a volatile world out their and we are prepared to stop an extremely economic opportunity. My question is why? It's there in our hands. There are issues to work out and they will be. It is a mistake to not reach out and seize this chance to proceed. Are we not the mining capital of Canada?

There hasbeen many letters Ihave read, many from friends and acquaintances. Some pro, some con. We live in the greatest country in the world and are allowed freedom of speech. This is not an argument or trying to pick a fight. I'm only speaking my thoughts and beliefs. If you like or understand what I have stated, thank you. If you disagree with my opinion thank you, it is you right and purpose to speak your mind and thoughts.

The benefits of Ajax are huge; the negatives in some minds are unforgettable. Today I will give my vote. Carry on, Ajax, it is not only needed but staring us in the eyes. I vote yes.

Just a miner's thought, I'm allowed.

An afterthought, I read a full page article in our Daily news paper two or three days ago. It was regarding a survey done questioning whether doctors would move to our fine city. The apparent answer was no. I find it mind boggling that if Kamloops had a booming economy, great university, people that were on a medical plan and we are a growing and economical beautiful city. Do you really believe we lose doctors or other professional people? Didn't we lose the cancer clinic to Kelowna. Was Ajax a factor then? I don't know. Tell me.

What I do know or believe is that survey that we read about, first page, that survey was taken two or three years ago. My sources are pretty good. As we all know yesterday's news clips are today's garbage (or something like that).

Maybe we should survey the real citizens of Kamloops to see what they think when they're told "welcome aboard you're hired."

GARY DONALDSON

Kamloops


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