Japan quake raises stakes for Baynes Sound coal mine proposal

Dear editor,
As the next public comment period approaches for the proposed Raven underground coal mine, both the pro and anti groups are gathering their diverse arguments.

Dear editor,As the next public comment period approaches for the proposed Raven underground coal mine, both the pro and anti groups are gathering their diverse arguments.However, one scientific fact that we can all agree on has been driven home by the recent events in Japan. The fact is that the Raven mine is located in the second-highest relative hazard zone for an earthquake (and about 60 km from the highest hazard zone) as mapped by Natural Resources Canada.It is a matter of “when” not “if.” We have seen how safety and environmental precautions, even in the most prepared country, can be no match for the seismic forces of nature. The proposed Raven design includes surface water runoff channeling and holding pond facilities for the mine site, including two rock piles totaling 17 million tonnes of acidic reject coal. What is at stake when these facilities fail?The acidic runoff will run downhill into Baynes Bay, with a high probability of destroying a $22-million shellfish industry employing 500 people.The likelihood of an earthquake raises other concerns.One is the risk of the two massive waste rock piles collapsing. Second is the increased risk of deteriorating residential and agricultural ground water sources as the ground shaking further disturbs underground flows that will be already altered by the mine.Third is the danger to miners who may tragically be in the mine when a quake hits. At risk are lives, the right to clean water, and the sustainable shellfish, agricultural and tourism economies. And there are the seismic and tsunami risks at the project’s proposed coal shipping facilities in Port Alberni. The world’s dependence on coal will have to taper off rather than immediately disappear as we move into a greener energy future. Meanwhile, the most judicious approach is to only develop coal deposits that pose the least amount of risk to the environment and to sustainable industries and that have the highest quality of ore. The Raven project is not one of those deposits. In addition to its seismic risks, the Raven project, according to qualified geologists, will produce low-quality coal that will have to be mixed with higher-quality coal for its intended metallurgical use.We are perhaps now shaking our heads over the wisdom of locating nuclear plants in an earthquake zone. Will we, in the near future, be shaking our heads over the permitting of the Raven mine after the earth trembles and we count our losses?Peggy Zimmerman,Courtenay

Just Posted

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

More than 22,000 blood donors needed

Canadian Blood Services is urging Canadians to help meet patients’ needs this… Continue reading

Kiyoshi Kosky running for Courtenay City Council

I am Kiyoshi Kosky and am running in the upcoming Courtenay Municipal… Continue reading

Courtenay Volunteer Fire Department to hold Tour de Rock fundraiser

On Sunday, Aug. 19, the Courtenay Volunteer Fire Department will be having… Continue reading

Trevor’s trust fund supports restorative project in Courtenay

Ashwell family donates $10,000 to Kus-kus-sum

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

B.C. gangster charged after man allegedly beaten with a golf club

Langley man facing aggravated assault charge after incident allegedly involved golf club and machete

442 Squadron medevacs injured fisherman at Graham Island

442 Squadron medevacs injured fisherman at Graham Island

Are you Canada’s next Masterchef?

Home cooks looking to follow their cuisine dreams can apply now.

Regional climate adaptation agriculture testing to expand in B.C.

Ottawa funds farm projects to conserve water, remove invasive species

Most Read