Raven to re-submit coal mine application by end of March

Opponents remain skeptical the mine, 50 kilometres from downtown Qualicum Beach, will ever be operational

The president of Compliance Energy says the company will re-submit its application for the Raven coal mine project by the end of March.

In May of 2013, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) rejected the application for the proposed mine near Buckley Bay, less than 50 kilomteres from downtown Qualicum Beach, 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. On Tuesday, Compliance CEO Stephen Ellis said that submission will be made by “the end of the first quarter” of 2104.

“It (getting the application re-submitted) is slower than I would have anticipated,” Ellis told The NEWS. “But getting all the information required by the government has taken some time.”

A large part of that process has been consultation with First Nations. Ellis said the company has now consulted 18 of the 20 groups the EAO required.

“There’s no real end to that consultation,” said Ellis. “You carry on with that.”

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,” said Ellis. “And I think one of the biggest fears for Parksville and Qualicum Beach was trains (being) re-introduced and that’s not going to happen because we will truck our coal.”

Ellis also said he met informally late last year with Parksville-Qualicum MLA Michelle Stilwell and B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak.

“I thought Mary Polak came across as very well informed,” said Ellis.

One of the leaders of those opposed to the project, John Snyder of Coal Watch, said Tuesday 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.