It is inconceivable that Robert Koopmans could equate the Kamloops Superstore or Tobiano development to the Ajax mine proposal (Ajax Mine Won’t Make Or Break Kamloops, The Daily News, Oct. 6).
The scale and potential risks of this mine proposal are unlike anything ever conceived for our community. This is not the time to be complacent.
We are told that the Ajax open-pit mine would cover approximately 45 square kilometres, produce 205,000 tonnes of ore and waste rock daily with the tailings covering 4.2 square kilometres and rising nearly 150 metres in the air.
The open pit will be roughly three square kilometres. The mine will consume 91,000 litres of diesel (a known carcinogen) daily and 14.8 billion litres of water annually. Ajax would border — and is upwind of — a city of 90,000 people, with a probability that an as-yet-to-be-determined amount of dust, perhaps laced with arsenic, from the mining operation will descend on the city and its trusting inhabitants.
Add to that the noise and vibration of daily blasting and the commotion of massive truck traffic.
Of course we should all wait patiently for the impending environmental reviews which will attempt to estimate the negative impact and health risks of the proposed mine.
At the same time, we need to understand that predicting and quantifying environmental and health risks, when dealing with variable climate patterns and weather conditions and within the limitations of current experiential medical knowledge, is not an exact science.
Although an important step, there is the potential for an environmental review to underestimate the insidious, long-term negative health effects, principally cancers and lung disease, on the neighbouring population.
The full health impact may not be apparent until after many years of exposure. It may well resemble a long-term experiment on a trusting, adjacent population.
Although Superstore and Tobiano are both well known to most Kamloops area inhabitants, there was never a serious concern that they would influence the now favourable Kamloops “brand” or threaten a population’s health as this mine has the potential to do.