Comox Valley coal mine critic standing by his math

Dear editor,

I’d like to thank Nina Usherwood for her letter on the size of the Compliance Energy’s Raven Mine waste pile.

Dear editor,

I’d like to thank Nina Usherwood for her letter on the size of the Compliance Energy’s Raven Mine waste pile.

The more attention that pile gets the better.

However, I disagree with her math.  Here are our calculations provided with the help of several friendly engineers.

According to Compliance, the waste rock would be 1.1 million metric tonnes per year. That converts to roughly 675,000 cubic meters per year of waste rock.

If stacked onto a CFL-sized football field — 110 yards long by 65 yards wide — over the course of a year this would reach a height of 112.9 metres. Over the 16-year lifespan of the project, that would equate to a height of 1,806.4 metres.

For those keeping score at home, that would equal a height of 5,925 feet onto a CFL-sized football field — more than a 500-storey building. (A storey is approximately 10 feet.)

To use a term favoured by my grandchildren, that waste pile would be “humongous.”

A word of caution. We are using an illustration.

The pile would not have square sides. And the actual dump site is much more than the size of a single football field.

According to Compliance, the dump site would be 360,000 squarer feet — the size of about 60 football fields.

If you could take the tour — which Compliance doesn’t seem to be giving any more — you would see that the waste site is in a slight valley that is still considerably above Fanny Bay and Baynes Sound. The bad stuff would roll downhill.

As for Ms. Usherwood’s tourists, the few who come to look at the waste pile would come for one reason. They would want to see how it was possible to wipe out a 100-year-old, thriving shellfish industry in just a few short years.

Mike Bell,

Comox