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by Mike Caswell
Compliance Coal Corp. has filed a lawsuit in the Supreme Court of British Columbia claiming that the provincial government effectively scuttled the company's attempt to build a $297-million coal mine on Vancouver Island. The suit alleges that the mine became the victim of politics, and was sacrificed in order to allow natural gas projects to proceed. The government developed a "convoluted and cumbersome" approval mechanism that was designed for failure, the suit claims.
The allegations are contained in a notice of claim that Compliance filed at the Vancouver courthouse on March 14, 2017. The lawsuit revolves around Compliance's years-long effort to develop the Raven coal mine on Vancouver Island. The company says that the mine enjoyed substantial local support and would have generated 350 long-term jobs. It would have produced steelmaking coal from a seam that is actively mined by others.
Unfortunately, the mine was doomed by an environmental assessment process that was impossible to navigate, Compliance claims. As part of the process, government officials had the company participate in a working group that was assembled to address public concerns. Several of those participating in the group had no interest in making the process function, however. Compliance says that the group included parties publicly opposed to the development of any coal mines. There was nothing that would lead to those parties changing their stance, the suit states.
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