Long process to bring a mine into production

as the mayor sees it with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys - long process

Ms. Dawn Mills spoke at a cultural use resource forum held in Kamloops. The article on the event stated that Ms. Mills is “the inaugural Finning resident scholar for mining and communities at UBC’s Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering. Her job is to reach out to rural communities to provide background expertise on mining proposals as part of an institute program to address social, economic and environmental issues facing the industry.”

At first blush it may look that a resident scholar whose position is funded by a key partner in the mining industry might be slanted in a favourable way to promoting mining, mining in any and all circumstances. That is not the case.

Step back for a moment and really look at what is happening with respect to mining, and indeed any large development project. Over the years the focus has shifted from the “Let’s Git Er Done At All Costs” attitude of decades before, to the current approach that takes in all aspects of such mega projects.

Taking the new attitude and focus into account, it only makes sense that anyone with a vested interest would want to properly cover all possible concerns as the process unfolds.

Think about it, who in their right mind would invest multi millions of dollars into a project, then have it stopped because the required steps were not followed?

The start-up capital for a mining project comes from a very small group of people with the insight and knowledge to believe that the project they are backing is viable, and can be taken to full production within a given time frame.

Millions of dollars and thousands of hours are spent proving the deposit of ore,  as well as building a project plan that is economically feasible, environmentally sound,  and that will be attractive to the many subsequent investors needed to bring the mine into production.

There are hundreds of different focus groups to be informed, multiple levels of government regulations to be followed, and last but not least,  investor groups that need to be constantly assured that the funds they invest will bring a return palatable to their individual board of directors. Stability throughout the process is the key. Everyone needs to be informed and assured as to what needs to happen will indeed happen.

Ms. Mills, with her expertise in the mining industry, can help to make the huge amount of facts and details make sense to us all in the more rural communities. Mines, and all that they encompass, are complicated.

Take for example the Yellowhead Mine project tailings pond. It has been stated recently that the protective dam of the pond needs to be maintained immemorial after construction. A comment like this taken out of context, would make it seem that the problem has not been addressed. In fact, this topic was discussed at length during various meetings all through the environmental assessment of the mine proposal.

I know this because I was there. All stakeholders had the opportunity to attend these meetings to hear the information and to offer opinions.

Having someone like Ms. Mills to help explain the process could be a very good thing indeed as long as those asking questions are prepared to listen.

I was asked why I didn’t mention anything about the Lt. Governor’s visit in my article last week.

The problem is that I have to have my article in by noon on Monday, which is when Her Honour was due to arrive. Now that I have had the privilege of meeting Her Honour Lt. Governor Guichon, I can say that Her Honour is a gracious lady well deserving of the role she has been given. I hope that we will have the opportunity of another visit soon.

The many members of the community and the student body that came to listen to Her Honour’s remarks were most appreciated. Principals Jonathan Brady and Shelley Ewashina are to be commended for their support and efforts. I know it is a busy time of the year for the students. Thanks also to the Yellowhead 4H members for serving, and to 4H Leader Glenda Feller for arranging the club members attendance on such short notice.