In a March 2 letter to British Columbia Ministry of Environment Doug Caul, Compliance President and COO Stephen Ellis said that he wanted to withdraw the company’s request for a second environmental assessment for Raven because of “misinformation” about the proposed room-and-pillar operation.
“We remain confident that the Raven coal project will be developed in an environmentally favorable manner and will provide considerable economic and social benefits to the Comox area,” he said. “More than $20 million has already been spent on the environmental evaluation of the project, and we remain confident that all of the regulatory requirements will be met.”
Raven has been some time in the making, and its first environmental assessment was rejected by province officials in 2013. Compliance submitted its new application for the mine in January.
This week, British Columbia regulatory officials said that Compliance withdrew the application after its office advised the company of issues identified within, and that it can still resubmit another application once those items have been considered.
Late last week, Compliance officials confirmed that its entire board of directors had resigned, adding that the blame for the downward turn for the company and the project lie with regulators.
“The withdrawal of the company’s major Korean and Japanese partners from the Raven project, which was precipitated by the Environmental Assessment Office’s (EAO) protracted process of developing an acceptable Application Information Requirements for the project, followed by the EAO’s resistance in accepting a fully developed application for stakeholder review, has made it impossible to raise further funds, attract alternate partners or to sell the project,” officials said.
With more than $35 million spent on efforts to make Raven a reality over six-and-a-half years, the producer said the company is now effectively insolvent and has “rendered valueless the significant job-creating resource.”
“Given the EAO’s reluctance in accepting the application and addendum into the application review process, the options for funding the project have been exhausted,” Compliance officials said. “In addition, the company’s only secured creditor has demanded repayment of their loan,” adding that attempts to raise additional capital and attract new money to Raven or a new project and direction was made “too difficult” because of the debts created by the environmental assessment process.
All company officers have also resigned, and CEC’s website was offline as of March 4.