Baynes Sound coal mine described as ‘moral hazard’

Dear editor,

The insurance industry has a term that fits the Raven Coal Mine project to a T — moral hazard.

Dear editor,

The insurance industry has a term that fits the Raven Coal Mine project to a T — moral hazard.

A moral hazard is a situation where an individual or company engages in a high risk venture, makes a short-term profit but leaves the downstream liabilities to someone else.

The classic example is the sub-prime loan situation in the U.S. The Big Banks gave out housing loans to folks who couldn’t afford them.  When the loans started turning bad they bundled them together, sold them to investment companies and walked away.

The mining industry has many examples of projects that are moral hazards. They privatize the reward and socialize the downside risks — get in, get what they can, get out and leave the taxpayer holding the bag to pay the piper.

There are three indications that the Raven Coal mine project is a moral hazard.

First, it is an environmental hazard.

That huge waste pile over 16 years will be the size of a 500-storey building spread over an area the size of Canadian football field —you can do the math.  It will be with us long after the mine has closed.

Situated up on a hill above Fanny Bay and only five kilometres from Baynes Sound, the pile, exposed to the elements, will  leach out toxic substances that will flow downhill, polluting local water tables on their way to the sea.

Second, the project is an economic hazard for the local community and the Valley.

It threatens the 600 sustainable shellfish industry jobs, and, in turn, promises 300 temporary (by comparison) jobs that will likely go to miners coming in from elsewhere. And, it threatens the tourism industry in our valley which is an essential part of our economic future. In the last year friends and family have invited my wife and I to share their timeshares in Maui, Hawaii and Sedona, Ariz.

Can you imagine what would happen to their tourist industries if they suddenly announced that they were supporting the development of coal mines? Can you imagine what would happen to our tourist industry if the same thing happened here?

Third, Compliance Energy itself, as a resource company, is a hazardous risk.

North American and global markets for borderline metallurgical coal are in the tank, especially thermal and the borderline metallurgical coal the Raven mine would produce.

In B.C., the USA and Australia, coal mines have been shutting down for months. Compliance shares have plunged from 55 cents two years ago and are hovering around five cents now.

As of Dec. 31, 2012, their audited statement shows a deficit of almost $7 million. The auditors pointed out that the company has no revenue-generating operations, and, in an unusual Emphasis of Matter, stated that a material uncertainly may cast significant doubt about Compliance Energy Corporation’s ability to continue as a going concern.

This high-risk venture is a classic example of moral hazard. It is the wrong project, in the wrong place, at the wrong time being proposed by the wrong company and shafting too many people.

Is there anybody out there who really believes that this project will provide a long-term benefit to our community and its future?

Mike Bell,

Comox Valley

 

Just Posted

Courtenay family looking for help after baby born two months premature

A GoFundMe page has been set up as a difficult pregnancy and a long stay in Victoria have left the family struggling to get by

Land & Sea Brewing Company opens its doors in Comox

Managing director says the brewery will be a compliment to the Valley’s craft beer scene

Two Courtenay Habitat for Humanity families receive keys to new homes

Lake Trail Road project officially has residents

Preparations ongoing for Courtenay’s annual Earl Naswell Community Christmas Dinner

The doors of the Florence Filberg Centre, downtown Courtenay, will open again… Continue reading

Valley woman found guilty on three charges following 2016 collision in Courtenay

The woman involved in a trial for a multi-vehicle collision in which… Continue reading

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Canucks score 3 power-play goals in 4-2 win over Oilers

Vancouver sniper Boeser has 6 goals in last 5 games

Microscopic parasite found in Prince Rupert water affecting thousands

More than 12,000 residents affected by the boil water advisory issued Dec. 14

Trudeau lashes out at Conservatives over migration “misinformation”

Warning against the “dangers of populism,” Trudeau says using immigration as a wedge political issue puts Canada’s future at risk.

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

Todd Hickling gathered donations and used gear to remove the cost barrier for kids to play hockey.

Canada’s ambassador meets with second detainee in China

Global Affairs says John McCallum, Canada’s ambassador to China, met with Spavor Sunday

‘They’re coming:’ Flying cars may appear in urban skies by 2023

Air taxis will number 15,000 and become a global market worth $32 billion by 2035

B.C. VIEWS: Andrew Wilkinson on taxes, ICBC and union changes

Opposition leader sees unpredictable year ahead in 2019

5 tips for self-care, mental wellness this holiday season

Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions urging British Columbians to prioritize self care through festive season

Most Read