Teck Elk Valley mines waste rock

A metallurgical mess: why Teck Resources is facing pushback over its latest mine proposal

In this week’s newsletter, we look at Teck’s plan to massively expand an Elk Valley mine even as it fails to limit selenium pollution to meet B.C.’s guidelines

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Remember that fish population crash in the Elk Valley?

In April, we reported that a Teck Resources presentation revealed a 93 per cent decline in the westslope cutthroat trout population just downstream of its Fording River mine, the largest mine in British Columbia.

Since 2014, Teck has been warned about increasing selenium pollution emanating from the company’s five Elk Valley mines.

More specifically, Teck was warned that if something wasn’t done to limit selenium pollution in the Elk Valley, there would be “a total population collapse of sensitive species like the westslope cutthroat trout.”

On the heels of that population crash, Teck is proposing to massively expand the Fording River mine even though it admits it will not be able to limit selenium pollution to meet the province’s guidelines. 

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Reporting from the heart of the Elk Valley, Paul Fischer explains that the Castle Mountain project would expand the footprint of Teck’s 20,000-hectare Fording River mine by an additional 2,500 hectares.

This comes at a time when international criticism is being levelled at the company’s selenium problem — which is now being drawn through a shared watershed into Montana.

The proposed expansion has drawn the ire of 22 American and Canadian researchers who say Teck’s Elk Valley mines are a symbol of Canada’s failure to incorporate “transparent, independent and peer-reviewed science” in their decision-making process.

Even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has jumped into the fray, calling out the B.C. government for a lack of data and transparency when it comes to Teck’s pollution in the transboundary waterway.

As this controversy stews, Teck says the expansion will ensure its largest operation, responsible for about one-third of its Elk Valley metallurgical coal production (used to make steel), can keep employing locals for decades to come.

All these developments make you want to add your voice? B.C.’s public comment period on the project is open until June 22.

Stay well and don’t kill the fish,

Arik Ligeti
Audience Engagement Editor


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Arik Ligeti is The Narwhal’s audience engagement editor, with a focus on growing a dedicated community of members and readers.…

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