An initial group of 200 Chinese citizens will begin to arrive in British Columbia in coming weeks to work at new mines in the western Canadian province.
The full time workers – whose number could grow to as many as 2,000 eventually – follow $1.4 billion in Chinese funding for two of four coal projects in the northeast of the province announced in November.
The Vancouver Sun reports up to 800 Canadians would also be employed by the four coal mines, but according to one of the mine developers Canadian Dehua International Mines, Canadians "just don't have the experience" to operate underground equipment safely and that "without the Chinese and the technology they're bringing … these particular mines would not have been developed":
Stephen Hunt, western director for the United Steelworkers union, ridiculed Tuesday the suggestion Canadians couldn't be trained to work underground.
"Bullshit," he said of [Canadian Dehua CEO John] Cavanagh's assertions .
"That's just a cop-out, a way to bring in guest workers who are going to go into a camp, contribute virtually nothing to the economy, and then when they're done they'll be sent back to China," he said.