Water Quality Management
The mining process generates large quantities of leftover rock that contains naturally-occurring substances such as selenium, an element that is essential for human and animal health in small amounts.
Water from both precipitation and runoff flows through these rock piles and carries selenium and other substances, such as nitrate, into the local watershed. If present in high enough concentrations in the watershed, those substances can adversely affect aquatic health.
Our goal is to implement solutions to stabilize and reverse the increasing trend of selenium and other substances to ensure the ongoing health of the watershed, while at the same time allowing for continued sustainable mining.
Creating the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan
The British Columbia Government has announced a framework to develop a plan to address water quality issues in the Elk Valley. Under this framework, Teck will be working with governments, First Nations and communities to develop an Elk Valley Water Quality Plan that will maintain the health of the watershed.
Development of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan will include extensive public consultation and guidance from a multi-party technical advisory committee. The plan will establish short, medium and long-term targets for selenium, cadmium, nitrate, and sulphate, as well as rates of calcite formation. The strategy and water treatment technologies already developed by Teck as part of our selenium management plan will aid in the creation of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan.
Terms of reference for the development of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan will be established shortly. Following this, the creation of the final plan is expected to take up to 12 months, at which point it will be submitted to the provincial government for approval. While the final plan is being developed, Teck will continue to take action — including construction of our first water treatment plant at Line Creek, monitoring, and extensive research and development — and we will continue to implement solutions throughout the development of the plan.
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A Strategy to Protect Water Quality
Teck has proposed one of the largest water quality management programs of its kind in the world in order to meet the challenge of protecting the health of the Elk River watershed. The tactics and technologies outlined in this strategy will help form the foundation of the new Elk Valley Water Quality Plan.
Our initial strategy includes over $600 million in investment over the next five years, focused around four key strategies: