Appalachia-North? 18 new coal mine proposals for Comox Valley


The Comox Valley citizens’ group that recently sent a proposed coal mine application back to the drawing board has discovered a staggering 18 new coal mine applications throughout the same central Vancouver Island region.

The discovery comes on the heels of a broad-based public campaign, driven by Coalwatch Comox Valley, which successfully blocked the proposed Raven Coal Mine through its environmental assessment. The organization managed to drive thousands of people to public hearings opposing the project, which threatened the local shellfish economy, one of the region’s biggest employers.

This new batch of applications was filed with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas by Feisa Resources Canada and Golden River Resources Inc. during a two-week period from May 10 to May 24, 2013.

CoalWatch issued the following statement in reaction to the findings:

Golden River Resource Inc. has filed 8 coal license applications, with 4 applications in the Anderson Lake area, just north of Comox Lake, and 4 applications in the Oyster River area. The total area covered in the Golden River applications is 9,075 hectares.

Feisa Resources Canada has filed 10 coal license applications in the Fanny Bay-Union Bay-Royston area. The total area covered in the Feisa Resources applications is 13,312.5 hectares. These Feisa applications appear to be for exactly the same coal that is targeted for the proposed Raven Underground Coal Project.

“We were stunned to see this amount of new coal license applications covering such a large area of the Comox Valley”, said CoalWatch president John Snyder. “The applications in the Anderson Lake area are a huge concern due to their proximity to the Puntledge and Tsolum River watersheds”.

“ It’s shocking there’s been no public notice on these coal license applications, other than being listed on an obscure government website. These applications are the first stage in any future coal mine exploration or development, and there needs to be more transparency and public notice when these are filed,” added Snyder.

On two recent coal license applications in the Anderson Lake and Oyster River areas, the Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) passed a motion requesting no license be issued due to concern that coal mine exploration, and further coal mine development, impacts existing industries.

“CoalWatch intends to monitor the review process on these new coal license applications, and if the CVRD is asked to comment on these applications, we’ll notify the public so they can voice their concerns”, said Snyder. “These latest applications are the first step on the slippery slope of transforming the Comox Valley into what many fear would be a mini-Appalachian type coal mine region”.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.