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Courtenay coal mine executives, resign, company deemed insolvent

Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist, March 2 2016

The directors of the company behind the proposed Raven coal mine near Courtenay have resigned in what opponents hope is the “final nail in the coffin” for the project.

Compliance Energy Corporation announced in a press release the company and its partners spent more than $35 million over 6.5 years in a failed effort to advance the project.

“This has effectively left the company insolvent and rendered valueless the significant job creating resource,” the statement said.

The press release blamed B.C.’s “protracted” environmental assessment process for the withdrawal of the company’s Korean and Japanese partners and the company’s inability to raise more money or sell the project.

But opponents say the company failed to submit the required information before the three-year time limit expired last June.

CoalWatch president John Snyder said the Environmental Assessment Office should terminate the environment assessment process in light of the missed deadline and the company’s latest statement.

“This thing has been hanging over our communities for over six years now and I think there needs to be closure on it,” he said in an interview. “Now, it essentially looks like they’ve just folded up their tent. I don’t see any reason whatsoever for the environmental assessment to remain active any longer.”

The Ministry of Environment said in a brief statement that it has received no information from the company regarding its latest press release, nor its intentions with regard to the environmental assessment.

Mines Minister Bill Bennett told reporters that the company hasn’t done anything for months. “So it doesn’t appear that the project is going anywhere,” he said.

Scott Fraser, NDP MLA for Alberni-Pacific Rim, said the government should alleviate people’s concerns and terminate the assessment process.

“It goes right to government,” he said. “I don’t blame the people in the assessment office.

“There’s some decisions that are being made here that are not in the public interest. They’re ignoring the public and the people that put a lot of time and effort into trying to protect their region and the jobs in the region.”