The plan for a coal mine less than 50 kilometres from downtown Qualicum Beach is dead.
Compliance Coal Corporation president and CEO Stephen Ellis confirmed this week the company has withdrawn its application to start the screening process for its Raven mine project, citing “misinformation that is circulating in some communities.”
Ellis told The NEWS on Wednesday the company “still wants to continue with the Raven project.” He said Compliance and its partners have invested $20 million into the plan and “you’re not just going to throw that away.”
Ellis would not go into specifics on what “misinformation” caused the company to withdrawn its application from the provincial Environment Assessment Office (EAO).
“We believe it (the misinformation) was influencing our application,” Ellis said from his office in Courtenay. “Our company believed it was in our best interest to withdraw.”
Ellis did not put any timeline on when the company may revisit the application process.
Compliance’s initial application was rejected by the EAO on May 16, 2013 and this latest application was intended to address the deficiencies in the initial application. Monday marked the end of the 30-day screening period to determine whether the new application was fit to enter final review.
“This latest move just reaffirms our view that the company is unprepared and unreliable,” Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island campaigner with the Wilderness Committee, said in a news release.
“When Compliance re-submitted the proposal a month ago, they said all of the shortcomings in the application had been addressed. It looks like they’ve wasted the government’s time – and the public’s time – yet again.”
“My guess is after getting feedback from the working group members, the EAO advised Compliance there were still significant issues/deficiencies that the EAO had identified with their application and Compliance decided to withdraw their application at the 11th hour,” said John Snyder, president of CoalWatch Comox Valley Society. “In my view, these two failed attempts at getting an application through to the next review stage, raises serious questions . . .”
“I suppose that after addressing the issues raised by the EAO, Compliance may wish to resubmit another application,” added Snyder. “However, they’ll still be facing the fact that there’s no social licence for their project, and the reality of moving this ill-advised project forward faces an ever- increasing headwind.”
Snyder said CoalWatch will continue to monitor future developments on the proposed Raven Coal Mine Project and make additional information available to the public when it becomes available.
“Finally, I’d like to acknowledge all of the people who have voiced their concerns and opposition to this massive coal mine project over the past five-plus years. From writing letters, going to rallies, supporting our CoalWatch fundraising dinners and placing lawn signs, please know that your efforts have made a difference.”
On its website and in NEWS stories, Compliance claimed the proposed Raven project would contribute approximately $1.1 billion to the economies of the surrounding regions. Compliance said 200 construction jobs and 350 “well-paying, full-time mine, port and transportation jobs” would be created if the project was approved. The proposed mine site is a few kilometres west of Buckley Bay.