I must say I laughed out loud when I read Yves Lacasse’s reply (KGHM Planning ‘Zero Harm’, The Daily News, Aug. 21) to the two letters in the previous day’s paper.
Zero harm pertaining to an open-pit copper and gold mine is a joke.
Perhaps KGHM thinks it’s clever positioning, but no one believes it to be even remotely possible. It’s never going to happen.
We are still being promised more facts, but all present indications are that, if anything, the harm will be considerable.
For a promise of zero harm to be made is so ridiculous that it continues to cast severe doubt on the credibility of KGHM International and its spokespeople.
While others can comment on the potential/probable real (not imagined) health impacts, and on dust, destruction of Jacko Lake and Petersen Creek wetlands, damage to unstable aquifers, blasting, sonic boom, property values, loss of Kamloops’ status as a Tournament Capital and desirable city to live in, etc., I will focus on one area where there is no question that there will be massive harm.
Ten square miles of native grassland will be lost forever. (Yes, a small part of it was already disturbed by the South Afton mine — but that was less than one square mile.)
There is no restoration possible on these dry and fragile sites. You dig it up, move it, bury under massive waste rock and tailings piles and its value as native grassland will be lost forever.
Such restoration has never been done successfully anywhere on a big scale.
Who cares about the loss of ‘some useless grasslands’?
We all should.
Less than one per cent of B.C. is covered by grasslands, yet one-third of the threatened or endangered species in the province depend on grasslands. Grasslands provide quietness and healing viewscapes for those seeking to maintain balance in their artificial urban lives. And finally, nine square miles of grasslands can produce a lot of beef.
Adequate food production in our rapidly changing world is tenuous; we are only one natural disaster away from famine for a lot of people.
Future food production is not a matter to be taken lightly.
It takes eons for the fragile cryptogamic crust to form, likely 10,000 years and a couple of glaciers, according to Prof. Laughlan Fraser of Thompson Rivers University.
It’s not as simple as removing the thin layer of topsoil and plunking it back down (without losing a good part of it), 23 years later.
Scattering some native seed around (which is not available commercially) will not replace existing plant communities.
And once you’ve destroyed what is some of the best cattle grazing habitat in all of B.C., you’ve also destroyed habitat for one-third of the province’s rare and endangered vertebrates, as well as rare plants and invertebrates and eliminated the potential for grassland carbon sequestration.
Zero harm, Mr. Lacasse?
I thought the ‘new’ (since last fall) KGHM International was committed to becoming open and believable . . . which requires not only charming people, but also truthfulness . . . and a reality.