The Drilldown: Teck Resources Ltd. accused of putting B.C coal mine workforce at risk of catching COVID-19

The Lead

Teck Resources Ltd. has been accused of putting thousands of its employers in danger of contracting the novel coronavirus at its coal plant in the east Kootenary region of British Columbia. On April 5, Kelty Pelechytik, who lives near the coal mines, wrote a letter to the company’s management that said the working conditions inside the mine have “likely enabled the spread of COVID-19 amongst its employees and contractors, their families, and the community at large.”

In the letter, Pelechytik said she had heard from the mine’s employees that the site is low on protective equipment and the vehicles commuting to it are often congested with people, meaning that there is “an absolute impossibility to self-distance because of the nature of the work.”

These allegations have since been substantiated by two workers at the coal mines who explained to the Globe and Mail that although the company has attempted to reduce the health risks, many of the challenges the operation is faced with cannot be solved.

In the coming days, Teck is expected to make a decision on whether to continue with operations at coal mines in B.C. and copper mines in Alberta, or to put them on hold.

Meanwhile, a meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-members started today shortly after 4:10pm GMT where they were planning to discuss production cuts to global oil production.


As OPEC pushes for global cuts to oil production, the American companies that are expected to be hit the hardest by the reductions are those that already struggle to compete in the market, meaning that international oil giants will continue to dominate the industry even more, according to the Financial Post.

So far, U.S. oil-producing companies have cut over $27 billion from their 2020 drilling budgets, but for major producers such as Exxon Mobil Corp., slashing budgets only means slower production rates, rather than complete cuts.

When asked whether he would be speaking to the leaders of the United States or Saudi Arabia about the global oil market, a spokesperson for the Russian President Vladimir Putin said “there are no such plans for today,” reported Reuters.

On Thursday morning at 8:31am EST, West Texas Intermediate was trading at US$26.21 and Brent Crude at US$34.05.

In Canada

The president of Canada Natural Resources Ltd., Tim McKay, has endorsed Canada’s participation in a global decision to make cuts to oil production as long as the resolution is “broad-based” and treats all participants equally, he said while speaking virtually at the Scotiabank Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers Energy Symposium on Tuesday, reported The Canadian Press.

In other news, Canada-based polymetallic mining company Sierra Metals Inc. revealed that an essential service crew will be the only workforce at its mine site located in Peru until April 26, 2020 following an extension of a state of emergency by the Peruvian government for another 14 days. Sierra expects that they will return to normal operations following the 26th.

The Financial Post has more.

This morning at 8:33am EST, Canadian Crude sat at US$13.06 and Western Canadian Select at US$9.69.


More from iPolitics

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.