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Letter: Princeton mayor speaks out against online allegations about Copper Mountain Mine

‘The real data and facts do not equate to the allegations that continue to be made’
Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne, along with provincial officials, including the provincialminister of environment and climate change, recently visited Copper Mountain/Hudbay Mine. (John Moody photo)

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the spreading online allegations of The Wilderness Committee, regarding Copper Mountain Mine/Hudbay and its planned expansion of the Ingerbelle pit.

The mine has been working for years, as long as I have been mayor if not longer, on reopening the Ingerbelle pit.

There are environmentalists who, ironically enough, want to drive in their EV cars and at the same time shut down mines like ours.

There is an ongoing claim that the river is contaminated by the mine. This has no proof in science. The mine has the data to back that up.

The mine has around 30 surface water testing sites and does nearly 500 water samples a year, with all levels below BC Safe Water limits. It also has approximately 13 ground water test sites. They test the samples for toxicity, metal concentrations, etc. and are all within the strict standards set out by the province.

If people are concerned about the contamination in the river they need to take a serious look at what is leeching from the tailings in Hedley. They are contaminated with nasty stuff and it leeches into the ground all day, every day. The area’s water also has high concentration of arsenic that leeches into the river. This site needs to be rehabilitated.

There is this continuous claim by environmentalists that the tailings at Copper Mountain are the same as the ones at Mount Polley. This is a complete fabrication.

They are different types of dam systems, and the amount of water in this one compared to Mount Polley is vastly different. I have sat through numerous tailing sessions with the mine, with the tailings safety people and ministry people all in the same room.

The real data and facts do not equate to the allegations that continue to be made by these activist groups.

What is called the New Ingerbelle project will extend the life of the mine and ensure that we have jobs for decades to come. The project will be in the existing pit and will make it bigger.

It is not a new mine. It is a reopening of the existing mine.

Claims that the mine is using loopholes is simply propaganda to ignore the fact that this is an existing mine site and that all processes have been followed.

These activist groups do not like that and they continue to use language that is not accurate, and is very inflammatory, to cause a stir in their base.

Language like this is harmful to the mining industry, and logging for that matter as they are the same groups who have caused our issues with logging. It is also harmful to our community and communities like ours, because it insinuates that we are not doing things right, that we do not care about the environment and that we are skirting around the rules for our own gain.

The mine employs 500 people with an annual payroll around $68 million. About 70 per cent of that workforce lives in Princeton and 20 per cent in the Similkameen Valley, so about 450 of those 500 people live in the Similkameen.

Don’t believe everything on the Internet.

The mine has been transparent about its operation and plans. It has had open houses, and invites everyone to the site each year.

I was just there with the minister of environment, our MLA, and the media.

I have been onsite a number of times this year, with other dignitaries, during operational hours where there is no ability to hide things. These types of allegations are wrong. They are hurtful to our community, the 500 people who work at Copper Mountain and they threaten our entire way of life.

Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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