An anti-Ajax group is calling for a new test blast at the proposed mine, saying a controlled explosion done two years ago is not enough to calm fears of vibration and toxic dust settling over neighbourhoods.
Kamloops Area Preservation Association also released a scientific opinion Tuesday showing the test done two years ago by KGHM-Ajax is inadequate to fully understand impacts, including affect of vibration on housing and other structures.
“We’re two years from today or tomorrow when that test blast was done,” said KAPA spokesman John Schleiemacher. “A lot of our concern is blasting on the edge of city limits with the plume drifting over the top of our city.”
Not only did KGHM-Ajax fail to provide notice to the community of the test blast, so people in Aberdeen and Pineview Valley could stick heads out the door and listen, Schleiermacher said the blast itself is only one-quarter the size of what will be a daily occurrence if the mine is permitted.
The scientific report by Takis Katsabanis, an associate professor of mining engineering at Queen’s University, found the report from the test blast is missing key information.
“Of major importance . . . are the vibrations levels in the surrounding communities as well as the vibration level at the neighbouring (Kinder Morgan) pipeline,” Katsabanis wrote.
But the mining expert said the report does not have adequate information on the effects of a large-scale blast. Information also needs to be predicted for different locations in the mine, he said.
Katsabanis’s report was done on request by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. Schleiermacher said, however, that neither the provincial or federal authorities will order another, larger test blast at the proposed mine.
Norm Thompson, spokesman for KGHM-Ajax, said the mining company is in the midst of a raft of studies and hasn’t ruled out more test blasting.
“We have consultants looking at everything. They’re studying all different aspects. We don’t have enough information to say whether there will be another blast or what there will be in the future.”
Scheiermacher noted the community advisory group asked government officials for more information on blasting in a document in November. It also took a year to obtain the blast results.
“The environmental assessment process is going to let the proponent go along doing as little as they can.”