Stephen Ellis said he’s “confident” his company will re-submit another application by the end of 2014 to open a coal mine.
Ellis is the CEO of Compliance Energy, a company looking to open Raven Coal mine near Buckley Bay, less than 50 kilometres from downtown Qualicum Beach.
In May of 2013, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) rejected the company’s application for the proposed mine saying “the application does not contain the required information and (the EAO) has decided not to accept the application for detailed review.”
After the rejection Compliance officials periodically vowed to re-submit another application, however, the company repeatedly missed all of their self-imposed deadlines. In an interview last week Ellis said another application will be made “by the end of the year.”
Kim Franklin, communications officer with the Ministry of Environment, confirmed by e-mail Friday that “Compliance Coal Corp. has indicated to the EAO that they intend to re-submit their application for an environmental assessment certificate for the Raven Underground Coal Mine project in the next few weeks.”
Once Compliance has re-submitted its application for an environmental assessment certificate, the EAO will evaluate it within 30 days to determine whether or not it meets the criteria set out in the application information requirements.
If the EAO determines that the application meets the requirements, it will be accepted for review. The 180-day review will be initiated and a public comment period on the application will be scheduled.
If the EAO determines that the application does not meet the requirements, it will not be accepted for review and Compliance will need to decide whether or not to revise the application and submit it again.
On its website (www.theravenproject.ca), Compliance 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.
“I think we’re getting closer,” Ellis told The NEWS on Thursday. “Everyone I talk to in terms of business and trades would like to see the mine go ahead.”
But not John Snyder.
He’s the leader of Coal Watch, a Comox Valley society whose website describes their focus as to “identify and research issues regarding the proposed Raven Underground Coal Mine Project near Fanny Bay.”
“We (Coal Watch) are greatly concerned about their (Compliance’s) project,” said Snyder. “We’re waiting for them to come up with additional information requested by both the provincial and federal government.”
Snyder said Compliance’s track record doesn’t indicate the company will make their latest deadline.
“Their application was rejected in May almost 15 months ago,” he said. “I’m not confident they’ll be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat.”
However, in the case an application is submitted by the end of the year Snyder said Coal Watch has experts on hand ready to look into the project.
“On the ground what I see is there is very little support from this community,” he said, noting people are concerned about how a coal mine would affect the area’s shellfish industry, aquifer, air quality and traffic.
Snyder said the recent Mount Polley disaster — a tailings pond breach in Likely, B.C. — raised even more concern among residents.
“If this mine were to go forward I wonder weather the regulations would be in place to protect our environment,” said Snyder. “For this company to obtain social license in this community that headwind has just increased.”