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Workers at Teck’s Highland Valley mine threaten to strike

The Highland Valley Copper mine is a copper and molybdenum operation owned by Teck Resources. (Image courtesy of Teck Resources)

Teck Resources said on Wednesday that a union representing 1,048 workers at its British Columbia mine could potentially go on a strike starting January 16.

The company said it received the strike notice from the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7619 at its Highland Valley Copper Operations in the Canadian province.

“The strike notice entitles the union to potentially begin strike action following the 72-hour strike notice period and 48 hours after the mediator reports to the Labour Relations Board,” the company said in a statement, without providing reasons behind the potential strike.

United Steelworkers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Negotiations between the company and the union are ongoing and the parties are scheduled to meet on January 14, Teck said.

The strike notice comes as both parties are negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement to replace the previous agreement which expired just over three months ago, on September 30, 2021.

Highland Valley Copper is the largest open-pit copper mine in Canada, and it has been operational since 1962.

The mine produces both copper and molybdenum concentrates through autogenous and semi-autogenous grinding and flotation. Wildfires back in August forced the company to suspend operations at the mine for 3 days.

Annual copper production from 2022 to 2024 is expected to be 135,000 and 165,000 tonnes per year.

(With files from Reuters)