Teck announces preliminary settlement at its Elkview operation

Teck announced on Saturday that it had reached a settlement deal with Local 9346 of the United Steelworkers of America to end the strike at the company’s Elkview operation.

According to a company statement, the parties will recommend the memorandum of settlement to their respective groups. The union ratification vote is scheduled for Thursday, April 7, 2011. If the agreement is ratified, production at the mine could resume by Friday, April 8, 2011.

Vince Ready was the mediator. Teck said that details of the settlement will not be released until ratification occurs.

According to the union, the strike started on January 30, 2011, and the previous collective agreement expired on October 31, 2010.

There are 700 union members who are on strike. Some of the issues are pension contributions and benefits for retirees.

The Elkview mine is located approximately three kilometres east of Sparwood in southeastern British Columbia. Teck has a 95% partnership interest in the Elkview mine. The remaining 5% is held by affiliates Nippon Steel Corporation and POSCO, a Korean steel producer, each of which acquired a 2.5% interest in 2005.

The mine is comprised of 27,054 hectares of coal lands of which 3,599 hectares have been mined or are scheduled for mining. Elkview produces primarily high quality steelmaking coal, although a small amount of thermal coal also is produced. The mine has a current production capacity of approximately 5.6 million tonnes of clean coal and the preparation plant has a capacity of 6.5 million tonnes per year of clean coal.

Michael Allan McCrae wrote this story. You can contact him at mmccrae@mining.com or @michaelmccrae. Image of Elkview operations is from MineSite.