Kamloops company honoured with mining award

A Kamloops company has won the 2008 Mining and Sustainability Award, presented by the Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources and the Mining Association of B.C.

The award was presented to Absorbent Products Ltd. at Vancouver's Terminal City Club during the Mining Association of B.C.'s Gala Award Reception during B.C. Mining Week. The Mining and Sustainability Award is one of the most prestigious awards given in the B.C. mining industry. It recognizes companies, organizations and individuals that demonstrate a commitment to advancing and promoting sustainable development within the mining sector. "We are very proud to have received this award," said Absorbent Products president Peter Aylen.

"We may be a much smaller company compared to the previous winners, but we have exhibited exceptional efforts and have met all eight of the evaluation criteria," he said.

"Safety is a major concern for our company and this is demonstrated by our low Worksafe BC rates and the capital expenditures we have made to improve workplace safety." All award nominees are judged against a set of eight criteria including: health and safety measures, relations with other parties (including First Nations), respect for the environment, efficient use of resources, research activities and providing benefits to the local community and the province.

Winners are decided by an adjudication committee made up of representatives from government, industry and academia. The winners must also be vetted through an ethics review process to determine that there have not been any unethical actions. Absorbent Products has also been recognized for its efforts in reclaiming land. In doing so, the company seeks to minimize the amount of disturbed land and to promote environmental stewardship.

APL's 1,000-acre ranch adjacent to its Red Lake mine property north of Kamloops has been used for agricultural operations and in using the company's natural fertilizer, leonardite, it has been shown that the reclaimed land will yield a much higher productivity level than before it was mined.

APL is currently ahead of schedule in completing its mine reclamation work and has reclaimed a substantially greater amount of land than what the company had originally anticipated. "We take great pride in the environmental integrity of our operations and our products. Many of our products are listed for use in organic production by the Organic Material Review Institute," said Aylen.

"We always seek to reduce our use of resources, whether they are the material mined, electricity, natural gas or other resources. We have reduced our use of both natural gas and electricity over the past five years and we use about 98 per cent of the material that is transported from the mines to the processing facility," he said. Absorbent Products Ltd., based in Kamloops, is a mine operator and a producer of over 140 branded and private label pet, agricultural and industrial products. It is the sole producer of diatomaceous earth in Canada and one of two producers of bentonite in Canada. The company also owns deposits of other minerals such as zeolite.

APL uses these minerals to produce and sell products, including cat litter, industrial absorbents, agricultural goods and bulk products that are sold in Canada, the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Absorbent Products Ltd., or its predecessor company Western Industrial Clay Products Ltd., has been in operation since 1989.

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