News

Coal mine application for operation near Buckley Bay still on hold

Another self-imposed deadline has passed for Compliance Energy as it considers re-submitting an application for a coal mining operation less than 50 km from downtown Qualicum Beach.

In January, Compliance CEO Steve Ellis told The NEWS his company would re-submit its application for the Raven Coal Mine to the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) by the end of March. On Monday, Ellis confirmed that wasn't going to happen.

"Certainly we haven't gone away," said Ellis. "We intend to re-submit. It's a process we're going through and it's evolving and it makes it difficult to put a timeline on it. We have meetings arranged with the (provincial) government in April and we will see how that leads with the re-submission."

In May of 2013, the EAO rejected the application for the proposed mine near Buckley Bay, saying "the application does not contain the required information and (the EAO) has decided not to accept the application for detailed review."

After that rejection, Compliance officials said they planned to re-submit the application within a couple of months. In early January, Ellis said that submission will be made by "the end of the first quarter" of 2104.

On its website (www.theravenproject.ca), the company says it expects to hire up to 200 workers during construction and create up to 350 full-time jobs. The underground operation would be centred about five kilometres west of the Buckley Bay ferry terminal and the coal would be stored and shipped out of Port Alberni.

Compliance has said three trucks an hour, 24 hours a day, will carry the coal from the mine to Port Alberni.

"The benefits to the economy of the area are tremendous," Ellis said in January. Ellis also said he met informally late last year with Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell and B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak.

One of the leaders of those opposed to the project, John Snyder of Coal Watch, said in January he’s not convinced the company is going to re-submit an application to the EAO.

“Talk is cheap,” said Snyder. “I will believe it when I see it. They keep saying they will re-submit — we will see what transpires.”

Snyder also said he still doesn’t believe the people of the region want to see the coal mine opened. “Nothing has changed as far as the lack of support in the community for this project,” said Snyder.

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