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[Raven] Mine is a hole owned by liars: Twain PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Written by Joan Russow
Sunday, 12 April 2015 17:24

By Arthur Caldicott / Alberni Valley Times 

April 9, 2015 12:00 AM

 
Victoria - In 2009 Compliance Energy Corp. included a timeline for the Raven Underground Coal Project in its promotional materials.
 
The timeline showed milestones for the months that followed, ending with the mine in operation by the middle of 2012.
 
Anyone following the Raven project knows how that turned out: every milestone was missed.
 
The mine is no closer to being in operation today than it was in 2009.
 
In the last seven years the only things Compliance Energy has delivered on reliably are meaningless dates and missed deadlines. A regular source of misinformation, one might say.
 
Speaking of timelines, how's this: Compliance delivered its first application to the Environmental Assessment Office in early 2013 - three years late.
 
Weeks later, the EAO rejected it. Two years after that, early this year, the company submitted a second application. This time, not even waiting for it to be rejected, Compliance withdrew that application from the screening process.
 
"Misinformation has been circulating in some communities," said the company in its March 2 letter to the EAO.
 
And that is without ever getting into the all-important technical details of water, shellfish, trucking, coal dust and the impacts of a coal port - issues the public has been denied a chance to examine for seven years.
 
There may be misinformation lurking in that material too, but the EAO didn't get that far: it put together 62 pages of deficiencies in the application, without even completing the screening.
 
Compliance has also conspicuously failed to deliver on the ONLY benefit of the mine and its associated trucking and port activites: "350 new, well-paying, full-time jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs in the Comox Valley, Port Alberni and surrounding regions." When pigs fly.
 
Today, coal companies are in despair. Coal prices have seldom been lower.
 
Mines are closing everywhere, including B.C. These grim conditions, as well as Compliance's unique style, are reflected in the company's share price: it closed last week at 1.5 cents.
 
The company's auditors included a rare, and serious, "Emphasis of Matter" in last year's financial statements, warning shareholders that there is "significant doubt about [the company's] ability to continue as a going concern." Among the concerns was a $9 million deficit - six times the deemed "market value" of the company.
 
An Emphasis of Matter from auditors is often cause for major upheaval: a shareholder revolt, sack the CEO, change strategy, smarten up. In Compliance's head office they put their heads together and changed auditors.
 
Later, the CEO, John Tapics, did resign. But he remains a director of the company.
 
This may not be the final deliverable. Compliance may be able to pull itself together enough to get an acceptable application into the EAO for a full environmental assessment. But in today's coal market it could never attract the investment necessary to build a mine. Coal prices may increase again, one day, and the Raven mine or something like it may come back again. It will be as unpopular then, as it is now, for all the same reasons.
 
Meanwhile, don't forget what Mark Twain said about mines.
 
Arthur Caldicott
 
 
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