The provincial government has granted a licence to Compliance Energy Corp. for a tenure near Anderson Lake, but the company says it has no intention of exploring the 1,448 hectares north of Comox Lake.
Compliance had applied for the licence in 2007 when it was still in the exploration phase. However, the company has since concentrated its resources on the Raven underground coal mine proposal near Baynes Sound, according to president/chief operations officer Steve Ellis.
“That licence lasts a year,” he said in reference to Anderson Lake. “If we want to renew at the end of that year, we’d have to pay again. No, I don’t think so. We’ve no intention of doing anything with it.”
CoalWatch Comox Valley says the company’s coal tenure now exceeds 30,000 hectares including the Raven proposal and the Bear deposit above Cumberland, which Ellis confirms is true.
Part of the Anderson tenure is in the Tsolum River watershed, CoalWatch notes. But even if Compliance intended to explore, Ellis doubts the energy ministry would approve drilling near a sensitive environmental area.
“All a coal licence allows you to do is to start to explore,” he said. “You would still have to go through the whole environmental application process once again. Do you think you’d get that if it’s affecting the Tsolum River watershed? I don’t think you would.”
The company, he added, is not “eyeing future development” at the Bear Coal Deposit above Cumberland, as suggested by CoalWatch president John Snyder.
“The underground coal rights is what we applied for,” Ellis said in reference to Raven.
The company expects the mine would create about 350 full-time jobs and spinoff jobs. Estimates indicate it could operate 16 years. Last year, the provincial Environmental Assessment Office rejected Compliance’s application for an environmental certificate.
Ellis said the company hopes to meet with government later this month to re-apply for the certificate.