Raven Coal Mine proposal should stay buried, says Wilderness Committee
VICTORIA – The application for a new coal mine on central Vancouver Island has been re-submitted, more than a year and a half after it was rejected by the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO). The proposal for the Raven Coal Mine has now entered a 30-day screening period to determine whether it contains all information required by the EAO.
This is as far as the project made it when the original application was rejected by regulators in spring 2013. During the previous screening process, the EAO found the application was missing hundreds of pages of required information and sent the proponent, Compliance Energy, back to the drawing board.
“Compliance has disregarded the environment and local water quality, as well as the First Nations and other people who this mine would impact,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. “Since its sloppy application was denied in 2013, the company has done absolutely nothing to gain public trust or social licence.”
The Raven Coal Mine would extract around 30 million tonnes of coal and rock over 16 years from a site near Fanny Bay in the Comox Valley.
The project has been fiercely opposed by the general public, environmental groups, the shellfish industry and other local businesses. All four municipal governments in the Comox Valley have opposed the mine, and the the K’ómoks First Nation has expressed concern about its impact on the riparian ecosystem and ongoing treaty negotiations.
The potential negative impacts of the Raven Coal Mine include the disruption of wildlife habitat, impacts to the watershed and riparian zones, and a significant increase to the Island’s contribution to the climate crisis – among many others. The mine would also result in a huge increase in heavy truck traffic, as the coal would be carried on public highways 4 and 19 to the port of Port Alberni.
“On top of the immediate environmental impacts, approving this mine would signal that this type of short-sighted, 19th century development is welcome on Vancouver Island,” said Coste. “This sort of risky, unsustainable project is a thing of the past here on the Island – we need to leave it there.”
The Wilderness Committee will be working with local groups to organize town hall meetings and other events to discuss the proposal, and will set up an online tool to help people participate in the upcoming public comment period.
For more information, please contact:
Torrance Coste | Vancouver Island Campaigner, Wilderness Committee