Documents from Compliance Energy Corp. reveal that I-Comox Coal, a subsidiary of Itochu Corp., has issued notice that it will withdraw from Comox Joint Venture, according to CoalWatch Comox Valley.
The venture was formed in 2008 to explore and develop the proposed Raven coal mine near Baynes Sound and the Bear Coal Deposit south of Comox Lake. Its founding partners were majority stakeholder Compliance Coal Corp., as well as I-Comox Coal and LG International Investments.
CoalWatch president John Snyder considers Itochu’s withdrawal “a serious statement by one of the founding partners,” though it is unclear how it will impact the Raven project.
“Given a lack of social licence and the widespread opposition or concern coming from the shellfish industry, First Nations and local governments, the withdrawal adds to an already-significant headwind in Compliance’s quest for an approval of the Raven Coal Mine Project,” Snyder said in a news release.
In May, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office rejected Compliance’s initial application for an Environmental Assessment Certificate for Raven. The company expects the underground mine would create about 350 full-time jobs and spinoff jobs. Estimates indicate it could operate 16 years.
Compliance president/chief operations officer Stephen Ellis was not available Monday for comment.
In June, he said the company would be working with consultants, and meeting with the EAO and Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency as it prepares to re-apply. This process, he added, would take months, not weeks.
Ellis has also said the company does not plan to explore the Bear Coal or Anderson Lake deposits near Comox Lake, even if government grants licences.
CoalWatch says it will continue to monitor issues around Raven and release relevant information as it becomes available.