Mine seeking support

The project manager for a proposed mid-Island coal mine says he wants the support of local businesses.

The project manager for a proposed mid-Island coal mine says he wants the support of local businesses in his company’s effort to stem tide of negative publicity.

Don Berkshire of Raven Underground Coal Projects gave a presentation to about 100 Parksville and District Chamber of Commerce members Thursday during the group’s monthly dinner meeting at the Tigh-Na-Mara Resort.

“We need your support right now,” Berkshire pleaded. “The regulators are only hearing one side of the story in the press and it’s not that favourable.”

The proposed Raven project is located five kilometres west of the Buckley Bay ferry terminal. Berkshire said the total underground area of the mine would be 3,100 hectares. He also said the project would create 350 jobs in the mine and port facility in Port Alberni.

“This is employment for people who live here,” he said, adding that the average mine worker’s salary, including benefits, exceeds $100,000 per year. “We are not going to be flying people in.”

Berkshire said Raven received what’s called an Application Information Requirements/Environmental Impact Statement Guildelines document from the provincial and federal governments in June.

The process dictates thatmuch had to be done before getting approval to even receive those documents. Berkshire said Raven has already spent $15 million on environmental studies related to the project.

“We have very deep pockets and we are not going to go away . . . by delay or any other