A Kamloops physicians group opposing the proposed Ajax mine released more documents on Thursday that they say shows unease among medical professionals about the project assessment process.
The disclosure occurs about one week after the same group released Interior Health medical officer Dr. Peter Barss' email condemning the project.
The new documents depict correspondence about Ajax that occurred from May to July 2012 between representatives of Interior Health, B.C. Environmental Assessment Office and the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.
Dr. Jill Calder, a member of the Kamloops Physicians for a Healthy Environment, said there's more to come as the group received a stack of papers in response to a freedom of information request, which will be released as they're vetted.
"What we received so far was so concerning we felt that it should go out," she said.
Thursday's release shows that environmental health officers want better human impact studies than the current provincial environmental assessment process allows, said Calder.
"The process of evaluation being done on this mine is similar to the one being done on any mine in any location in B.C. - this one is much closer to an urban population," she said.
In a June 2012 email to Barss on the subject, Dr. Rob Parker, IH medical health officer for the Okanagan, wrote of "significant concerns for potentially situating such a major mine so close to a sizeable community."
"Extreme due diligence should be taken by all parties to ensure that human health is protected," he wrote.
Parker was responding to Barss's question: "Does this mine pose a significant enough and demonstrable potential human health risk to the residents in and around Kamloops, such that it is reasonable and appropriate to issue an MHO (medical health officer) Order . . . that the project be halted/not approved?"
Parker said that before answering that question, "because this is such a significant and high profile proposal, there should be a clear process of internal public health consultation."
In a May 2012 letter to Barss, B.C. Centre for Disease Control Physician epidemiologist, Dr. Catherine Elliot wrote that the potential impacts to air and noise on human health is difficult to determine using standard assessment methods.
"There is no methodology in these plans for human health risk assessment," wrote Elliot.
And Misty Palm, IH environmental health officer, sent a letter to the provincial project assessment officer "strongly" recommending that "qualified third party consultants" with experience in human health risk assessment be engaged to participate in the review.
The Ministry of Environment did not return calls for comment Thursday. However ministry communications staff sent an email statement.
"Staff from federal and provincial environment and health agencies (Environment Canada, Health Canada, B.C. Ministry of Environment and Interior Health Authority), as members of the joint working group, are working to ensure that the potential health impacts are adequately assessed," it states.