Teck and union reach agreement at Highland Valley

Agreement avoids strike at southern B.C. copper-moly mine

The threat of a strike at one of British Columbia's biggest mines is no longer hanging over employees and management.

On Friday Teck Resources (NYSE:TECK) and the United Steelworkers (USW) said they have reached a tentative agreement for workers at the Highland Valley Copper mine near Logan Lake.

The open-pit copper mine in southern B.C. produces copper and molybdenum concentrates. The union and the company have been without a contract for nearly a year.

"The five-year agreement protects all of the existing contract language from the previous agreement and won’t contain any of the major concessions the company had been calling for," reported local media The Merritt Herald. The two sides had been bargaining for a week including one session that lasted over 21 hours.

According to The Herald union and management top brass hadn't met since talks broke down in January. Negotiations in mid-July broke down resulting in a strike vote approved by 99.8% from the membership. About 1,000 unionized workers are employed at the mine, which has another 10 years of life.

In late 2015 Teck announced it was planning to lay off about 6 percent of its workforce at its Highland Valley Copper operation; the cuts were achieved through attrition, meaning that the jobs of employees who quit or retired were not replaced.