KAMLOOPS — Unless you are an environmental scientist, yesterday's release of the 18-thousand page detailed application by KGHM-Ajax may have been a little too much to handle.
WATCH ABOVE: Updated full story by Reporter Tanya Cronin
It's a company video that works to assure the community there is nothing to fear. But the public now has the chance to decide for themselves.
"We've been asking the public to be patient and we wanted to have a conversation based on science, now we're able to have that conversation. All the research is done, everything is out in the open, everything is public right now," says Yves Lacasse, External Affairs Manager, KGHM-Ajax.
The 18,000 page document by KGHM-Ajax has been streamlined, and all the details simplified. Put into plain language is the company's application to the Environmental Assessment Office, about the proposed copper-gold mine.
"It's a fairly significant report, but I think we've done a great job to tackle this issue by summarizing all of these reports into plain language summaries and fact sheets," says Lacasse.
The summaries focus on specific impact areas, such as air quality, tailings storage and human health, which was studied extensively. Toxicologists studied cancer risk from residents inhaling metals, gasses and dust particles, as well as exhaust fumes. They studied exposure from various water sources including ground water, and other elements of the environment.
"They looked at country foods, so eating plants and animals that feed on the plants and fish. They also looked at soil exposure, so dermal contact for toddlers, what gets into your food, they looked at a lot of routes," says Peter Reid, of Stantec Consulting.
The report suggests the mine would pose little risk to the health of the public, and the risk of cancer came in well below government guidelines.
"They looked at all of the risks from exposure we have today, they compare those to government guidelines, then added the project to it using our dust fall and air quality information, then compared them back to those same objectives. They found they didn't exceed any of those objectives," says Reid.
Peter Reid worked in collaboration with human health consultants, using samples from his air quality findings. He says dust and exhaust can be mitigated by shortening roads or using other modes of transportation for mining activities.
"There's not a large pathway for metals to get into the air, it's the same dust you get on any dirt road in the countryside. It's not really exotic because the parts of the mine that have metals in it aren't ommited because we want to sell our product, we don't want to be spilling product all over the place," says Reid.
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