John Harding, Parksville - Qualicum Beach News, April 12, 2016
Any suggestions the Raven coal mine project near Buckley Bay could still happen were quashed last week when the the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) terminated its review of the Raven project.
The April 4 letter from the EAO to Raven's parent company Compliance Coal stated, in part, the decision to terminate the environmental assessment (EA) "is based on an assessment that continuation of an EA at this time would be neither efficient nor appropriate given the timing and readiness of the project to proceed with the EA."
Opponents of the project were quick to respond.
"Finally, the threat posed to the Comox Valley and Port Alberni from the ill-advised Raven Coal Mine Project has been extinguished," said Comox-based CoalWatch president John Snyder. "CoalWatch has been urging the EAO to terminate the Raven Coal Mine Project EA for over nine months. Despite this decision being long overdue, I'm very pleased the EAO decided to terminate the Raven Coal Mine Project EA."
Snyder said CoalWatch would like to thank the local governments, numerous organizations and the thousands of individuals, who over the past six years,have raised concerns regarding the Raven Coal Mine Project.
"Make no mistake, our cumulative efforts, be they large or small, have made a huge difference in the final outcome on this issue," said Snyder.
The Wilderness Committee expressed similar sentiments.
"This announcement is the long-awaited final nail in the coffin of the Raven Coal Mine," said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee. "This project has always been a terrible idea that has never had public support and the EAO finally made the right decision. Everyone knows we can do better than the finite extraction of dirty fuels, and I hope that the end of this campaign will mark the end of this sort of short-sighted economic thinking."
Compliance claimed the proposed Raven project would contribute approximately $1.1 billion to the economy of the surrounding region. Compliance said 200 construction jobs and 350 "well-paying, full-time mine, port and transportation jobs" would be created if the project was approved.
The proposed mine site was a few kilometres west of Buckley Bay or about 30 kilometres as the crow flies from downtown Qualicum Beach.
In late February of this year, Compliance announced that its board of directors, in its entirety, had resigned. The company also announced its major Korean and Japanese partners have withdrawn from the project and that its only secured creditor has demanded repayment of a loan.