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Backgrounder: Bear Deposit and Anderson Lake Deposit

In 2004, Compliance Energy entered into a purchase agreement for what historically had been known as the Hamilton Lake Deposit. Through the next couple of years it renamed it the "Bear Deposit" (Compliance would later rename the Tsable River Deposit as "Raven"), conducted a drilling and trenching program, and assembled a technical report on the property. 

Anderson Lake, Bear, and Raven coal depositsThe conclusion was that the property held some 8.5 million tonnes of high-volatile A-bituminous coal (the same low-grade semi-soft coking coal that appears in the Raven Deposit), of which 5 million tonnes would be mineable by open-pit methods.

In 2006, Compliance put Bear on hold, and turned its attention to the Raven Deposit, about 12 km to the south. The company believes that Raven can be developed as a mine, and is working agressively to that end.

The company also had acquired the Anderson Lake Deposit, further to the north, just off the road to Mt. Washington. This one is smaller still, at just under 4 million tonnes, with only 1.8 million surface mineable.

Neither Bear nor Anderson Lake is large enough to support the investment in a mine on its own. Both need the infrastructure which will be built for Raven.

Until the summer of 2010, Compliance's website contained statements that the Bear Deposit would be developed along with the Raven Deposit.

In a March 2011 revamping of the company's website, all mention of the Anderson Lake Deposit disappeared, as did any mention of developing Bear with Raven.

Neither the Bear Deposit nor Anderson Lake is mentioned in the company's 2009 project description to the Environmental Assessment Office, nor the 2011 updated project description, except in an unrelated context. In a letter published in the Times-Colonistin February, Compliance CEO John Tapics states that "the company has no plans to develop other coal properties on Vancouver Island at this time." [emphasis added].

The company has made an effort to downplay the Bear Deposit in its materials intended for the public and the environmental assessments. Not so in materials intended for investors, as you will see in a moment.

Here is some of the material since removed from the Compliance website:

  • "The Bear is approximately 12 km apart from the Raven and it is anticipated that it would be developed in conjunction with the Raven deposit." Link to screen clip. Source: Wayback Archive June 24, 2008 (Compliance has since blocked its website content from the Wayback Archive)
  • The Bear has been put on hold pending the results of the 2009 exploration drill program on the Raven Metallurgical coal deposit. The Bear is approximately 10 km apart from the Raven and it is anticipated that it would be developed in conjunction with the Raven deposit. Recent showing between the two deposits provide encouragement that this area could host in excess of 100 million tonnes of metallurgical coal.
    Source: CoalWatch submission to CEAA, August 17, 2010, Page B-3
  • The Corporation holds majority interest in 8 coal licenses totaling 5,056 acres (2,046 hectares) at the Bear Coal Deposit, north of the site of the proposed RUC project. This deposit contains approximately 8.5 million tonnes of coal resources. The Corporation has spent $750,000 on an exploration program for the Bear Coal Project and estimates that 5.0 million tonnes would be accessible by open pit methods for cleaning
    at the Raven facility. Source: CoalWatch submission to CEAA, August 17, 2010, Page 25
  • Source: CoalWatch submission to CEAA, August 17, 2010, Page B-4 & B-5

More recently, in April 2011, an investment newsletter published by Pathways Asset Management contained this information about the Bear deposit and a quote from Compliance Energy's John Tapics:

Development Strategy

Compliance’s strategy for developing its coal resources in the Comox Basin are geared toward proving itself as a responsible operator of the proposed underground mine at Raven in order to earn its “social license”. The Company then plans to apply for permits to further explore the Bear property where a historical resource of 8.5 million tonnes occurs near surface – one that wouldn’t take that much to bring into compliance with NI43-101 according to Tapics during a telephone interview last week.

“Given the current stage of exploration, developing Bear would not make sense without the Raven infrastructure. Further
exploration on Bear and the showings between Bear and Raven would be required before applying for permits to mine Bear.”

The proposed Raven coal mine and Bear coal deposit are located within a larger land package the Company holds in the Comox Basin encompassing roughly 75,000 acres and estimated in 1975 to contain roughly 890 million tonnes of coal. The Raven coal deposit near Fanny Bay is situated some 60 km southeast of the currently producing Quinsam coal mine and 2 to 20 km from previous producing mines around Cumberland and only 2 km from the main Island Highway and the E&N Railway.

The large extent of coal in the Comox Basin has provided fodder for opposition groups that paint a picture of the area as shaping up to be a “mini Appalachia”. John Tapics believes these groups don’t appreciate the time it takes to quantify resources, gain approval and then actually mine them.


Pathway Asset Management owns the MineralFields Group. In March 2011, MineralFields provided Compliance Energy with $1.25 million in exchange for 3.125 million units consisting of shares and warrants.

Click here for more technical background reports on the Anderson Lake and Bear deposits.