This letter is in response to one published on May 25, “A man we don’t know holds our city’s destiny,” which was a sensationalized, one-sided letter attempting to discredit mining company KGHM Polska Miedz S.A. and its president, Herbert Wirth.
As many residents in Kamloops region know, KGHM is a large Polish-based company that owns 80 per cent of the proposed Ajax copper-gold project. The remaining 20 per cent is owned by Vancouver-based Abacus Mining & Exploration Corp. This joint-venture forms KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. (KGHM Ajax)
The Ajax copper-gold project has been the subject of some debate in the community, particularly now that it is going through an environmental review, a thorough regulatory process that includes feedback from stakeholders on a project’s potential environmental, social and economic impacts.
At KGHM Ajax, we welcome all dialogue, especially at this critical stage of development. For us, it’s an opportunity to tell the community more about our company — which we realize many people are still getting to know — as well as our plans for the Ajax copper-gold project.
We want to hear from you. It’s our chance to listen to the community’s concerns and answer any questions. This interaction helps us develop the best project possible for both the company and the community.
That said, when false statements are made about our company that question our integrity, we can’t sit idly by. It’s our responsibility to set the record straight and deliver facts to the community.
Readers need to understand the back-story of the May 25 letter about KGHM written by John Schleiermacher, which is a distorted account of the company’s history based largely on rumour and innuendo. In the letter, Schleiermacher failed to mention that he is a member of the Kamloops Area Preservation Society (KAPA), a group actively working to oppose the Ajax copper-gold project.
KAPA is also part of a community advisory group, formed by the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) as part of the review process, to gather information and come up with recommendations about the project. KAPA appears to be circumventing the EAO process when it writes inflammatory letters to the media to gain attention.
While there are many inaccuracies in the letter, KGHM Ajax would like to address in particular the criticism of Wirth for not visiting Kamloops from his base in Poland. To ensure they are addressed efficiently, KGHM asks its international divisions, such as KGHM Ajax, to respond to community concerns.
What Mr. Schleiermacher doesn’t explain is why his group has yet to respond to an invitation to discuss their concerns with KGHM Ajax project manager Jim Whittaker. Whittaker not only splits his time between Kamloops and Vancouver, but has the knowledge having been involved in open-pit mining operations for more than 20 years. The invitation still stands.
KGHM Ajax has and will continue to reach out to the community about its project and presence in the region. The company plans to meet with City council in the near future, once its new management structure is in place following its decision this spring to increase its investment in KGHM Ajax to 80 per cent. At the request of Wirth, I sent a letter to City council stating this.
KGHM, through KGHM Ajax, has assembled a strong team to oversee development of the proposed Ajax copper-gold project. As we spend more time with people in the Kamloops region, and they get to know us better, we believe they will see a company committed to open and constructive dialogue and to helping build a strong community through economic opportunity and responsible development.
Chief executive officer,
KGHM Ajax Mining Inc.