KGHM-Ajax is not the only company that wants to develop an open pit mine immediately south of Kamloops.
A Vancouver-based company intends to explore this summer for minerals directly west and north of KGHM-Ajax's property, little more than a kilometre south of Pineview Valley subdivision.
Alex Pannu, CEO of Discovery-Corp Enterprises, said Wednesday the company will undertake a diamond drilling project valued at several hundred thousand dollars. It owns the subsurface rights and will operate on private lands, including Sugarloaf Ranch, owned by mining giant Teck Corp.
Discovery-Corp's goal for the property, first explored in the mid-1959s, is to develop a small open-pit copper-gold mine that could feed the mill at New Afton, giving it one or two years more mine life.
The claims are in the midst of those of New Gold Inc.'s New Afton mine and KGHM-Ajax's deposit at the historic Ajax pit.
The KGHM-Ajax proposal to expand that pit, located about 10 kilometres south of Kamloops, is undergoing review by a comprehensive provincial-federal environmental assessment process. Discovery-Corp's claims are much closer to residential areas than the Ajax pit.
"We think the geology is similar to Afton," Pannu said. "It's open pit and in close proximity to New Gold."
KGHM has faced fierce public opposition to its development. Pannu said he could not comment on the Polish company's plans.
Judith Naylor, who heads anti-Ajax group Kamloops Area Preservation Association, said Discovery-Corp's claim shows absurdity of provincial laws that allow mining so close to residential areas.
The Glenmohr area, residential areas south of Aberdeen Drive and Pineview Valley "are all shown on claims maps. If you start looking… it's kind of crazy."