The Ajax mine proposal may have taken a few hits this week with a local union president and a former medical health officer railing against the project for its potential health hazards.
But that hasn't swayed B.C. Premier Christy Clark from her enthusiasm for the KGHM proposal's economic promises and her wait-and-see stance towards fears of environmental or health hazards.
"We know that it could mean that there are many, many more families that could put the food on their tables with really high paying jobs for a long, long time. It could lift many people out of poverty forever," she said.
"Considering the environmental and health (impacts) is what's going to happen next."
Former Interior Health medical health officer Dr. Peter Barss emailed B.C.'s chief medical health officer Dr. Peter Kendall stating the proposed mine is a health hazard and should receive no further consideration.
The Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment released the email to the public this week after obtaining it through a freedom of information request.
Reached Thursday, Dr. Kendall said the assessment is "a local process" that doesn't directly involve his office. Instead, regional medical health officers with Interior Health Authority are responsible.
Kendall said medical health officers here are responsible for monitoring what studies are being conducted and analysing the results, expected when the company files its application.
The province's head public health official said his office has the power to determine whether B.C.'s environmental assessment office (EAO) provides adequate protection of the public. This week it released a report on gambling in B.C., including criticism of assistance provided to problem gamblers.
"We have the ability to look at it (EAO process) under the Public Health Act. I think I'd need additional resources because my office is quite small."
Clark was in Kamloops on Thursday to celebrate the re-opening of the Coast Kamloops Hotel. She said she hasn't reviewed Barss's statements in depth but considered the comments premature.
"I think his comments were pretty speculative," she said. "It hasn't even gotten to the environmental improvement process yet. So let's wait to see what happens with that so we have the full information in front of us so we can make real decisions about what those impacts could be."