Time for mine gone long ago

In today’s coal market, Compliance Coal could never attract the investment to build a mine, says letter writer.

To the Editor,

In 2009 Compliance Energy Corp. included a timeline for the Raven Underground Coal Project in its promotional materials. The timeline showed milestones for the months that followed, ending with the mine in operation by the middle of 2012.

Anyone following the Raven project knows how that turned out: every milestone was missed. The mine is no closer to being in operation today than it was in 2009.

In the last seven years the only things Compliance Energy has delivered on reliably are meaningless dates and missed deadlines. A regular source of misinformation, one might say.

Speaking of timelines, how’s this: Compliance delivered its first application to the Environmental Assessment Office in early 2013—three years late. Weeks later, the EAO rejected it. Two years after that, early this year, the company submitted a second application. This time, not even waiting for it to be rejected, Compliance withdrew that application from the screening process.

Today, coal companies are in despair. Coal prices have seldom been lower. Mines are closing everywhere, including B.C. These grim conditions, as well as Compliance’s unique style, are reflected in the company’s share price: it closed last week at 1.5 cents.

The company’s auditors included a rare, and serious, “Emphasis of Matter” in last year’s financial statements, warning shareholders that there is “significant doubt about [the company’s] ability to continue as a going concern.” Among the concerns was a $9 million deficit—six times the deemed  market value” of the company.

This may not be the final deliverable. Compliance may be able to pull itself together enough to get an acceptable application into the EAO for a full environmental assessment. But in today’s coal market it could never attract the investment to build a mine.

Coal prices may increase again, and the Raven mine or something like it may come back again. It will be as unpopular then, as it is now, for all the same reasons.

Arthur Caldicott,

Victoria