News

Coal mine still in the works

Compliance Energy CEO Steve Ellis vowed to re-submit an application for a coal mining operation 50 km north of Qualicum Beach by the end of this year — but some critics take his word with a grain of salt.

“We hope to get it (the application) in before the end of the year,” Ellis told The NEWS Friday.

Compliance has missed two self-imposed deadlines since May 2013 when the application for the Raven Underground Coal Project was rejected by the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) as it fell short on “required information.”

Ellis said “it has been difficult to get it (application information) all together” but promised results by December at the latest.

According to Compliance’s website (www.theravenproject.ca), the proposed coal mine expects to hire approximately 200 workers during construction, which would 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.

However, John Snyder, leader of Coal Watch — a group opposed to the mine — doesn’t see the project going very far.

“I’ve seen their timelines come and go,” said Snyder. “And these are self-imposed timelines.”

Snyder said there continues to be “significant opposition.”

“No social license has been granted,” he said, explaining the community as a whole does not support this project in its current state. “Social license is an important part of the puzzle.”

Snyder said the primary concern is the location of the proposed mine which would sit near what he describes as “one of the richest shellfish areas in, probably, the world.”

Moreover, Snyder said the mining industry is “unsustainable.”

“The mining industry is cyclical,” he said. “All sorts of coal mines are shutting down.”

Snyder said Compliance’s failure to meet application deadlines has left Coal Watch members “in a holding pattern”

“We’re waiting for them to actually come up with a good application,” he said. “If and when they do that we’ll meet them head on. We’re not going anywhere — we live here.”

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