Due to the complexity of the federal and provincial approval process, KGHM-Ajax can’t meet its aggressive targets for construction and mine operation.
Norm Thompson, a spokesman for KGHM-Ajax, acknowledged Tuesday that delays inherent in the federal-provincial environmental reviews have slowed the company’s targets for construction as well as copper production.
The company’s website still maintains that all environmental and mine approvals are expected in 2013, with production “anticipated early in 2015.
“It’s looking more like 2016,” Thompson said of production. “I haven’t heard a month or a quarter.”
The proposed mine has yet to receive any provincial or federal approvals and cannot start construction until those are granted by senior politicians, including B.C.’s environment minister.
KGHM-Ajax intends to develop a 60,000-tonne per day open-pit copper mine immediately south of Aberdeen and Pineview Valley neighbourhoods.
In May, Premier Christy Clark predicted the province would see eight new mines open in 2015. The Liberal government did not name those operations.
KGMH-Ajax is now forecasting its application— expected to be hundreds or thousands of pages of data and studies — will be complete by the second quarter of next year.
“If you go to do a study on somebody’s land and the landowner is away for three weeks on holiday — you wait,” said Thompson, as just one example of delays that may occur.
B.C.’s environmental assessment office (EAO) is still working on giving the company a detailed list of requirements it must satisfy in its studies, on everything from impacts on mammals and birds to city housing prices.
EAO project director Scott Bailey met with about 20 community members Tuesday who form a community advisory group. Reporters are barred from the meetings.
Following the meeting, Bailey said the provincial EAO is not yet satisfied with all the terms KGHM-Ajax must satisfy as part of its environmental application.
He said the meeting was meant as an update to the community advisory group. The goal is to further refine an application information requirements document — the so-called table of contents for environmental and social studies.
Frances Vyse, a representative of the Kamloops Naturalist Club, was among those at Tuesday’s meeting. She said based on her understanding she expects KGHM-Ajax to have its application complete and ready to present to government early in 2014 — delaying the process at least six months beyond the company’s latest official estimate.