As a petroleum exploration geologist with over 30 years of professional experience, I am well acquainted with the uncertainties of subsurface mapping.
I therefore feel qualified to submit two points of concern:
1) The entire Raven Coal submission has been based on the estimated extractable volumes of metallurgical-grade coal; volumes to be extracted, treated, shipped to Port Alberni, remediation, etc. My primary concern is therefore with the sufficiency of the data on which these projections have been based.
It is my opinion that while the operators may feel the data is adequate for their purposes, it remains totally inadequate on which to base any realistic environmental impact assessment.
This project is unique in that, unlike the vast majority of mining projects that are entirely landlocked, offering relatively closed areas of containment, the close proximity to Baynes Sound offers the potential for an ecological disaster with very serious and widespread consequences.
2) Geologic probabilities being what they are, there is a distinct possibility of encountering less-than-anticipated-grade coal.
In that event, economics would most likely dictate a request to process significantly larger volumes of lower-grade product.
John M. Baxter, P.Geol (ret),