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Community Engagement

Achieving support from local communities, community disputes, community engagement, positive and negative impacts (e.g., employment, inflation, and infrastructure), grievance mechanisms for impacts on society.

Why was Community Engagement a Material Topic in 2016?

In response to increasing expectations for business involvement in addressing global challenges such as climate change and access to water, communities increasingly question business activities and, at times, withhold support. In addition, technology and connectivity is reshaping how communities engage with the broader world, which is creating new risks and opportunities. Through technology, communities can readily organize and respond to business activities and they are often faster than government or civil society in effecting change. 

Maintaining trust through effective community engagement is critical to long-term business viability. In the 2015 PwC survey of CEOs, 55% surveyed reported that they are concerned about the lack of trust in business today⎯compared with 37% just three years ago. With the growing importance of building trust between communities and business, it is essential to build effective and long-lasting relationships with communities of interest (COIs).  


While community engagement can be considered a normal part of doing business for mining companies, the importance of building trust and support for projects and operations continues to increase and evolve. Conflicting interests between communities and companies can result in project delays, operational disruption and increased costs. A 2015 International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) stakeholder perception survey showed that only 25% have positive perceptions of the mining industry's progress towards sustainable development. In their 2016 Tracking the Trends report, Deloitte reported that mining projects with capital expenditures of between US$3 and US$5 billion can incur weekly losses of roughly US$20 million due to delayed production caused by community opposition.

Communities may be affected by the potential environmental and social impacts of mining such as competition for water and energy, emissions to air, and stress on public services. At the same time, there can be significant opportunities when these impacts are understood and well managed in collaboration with communities. Relationships that are built upon trust, transparency and mutual benefits are fundamental for mining companies to secure access to land during exploration and attain regulatory approvals throughout the mining life cycle.   

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Understanding Company-Community Relations Toolkit - ICMM

Many of our operations are located immediately adjacent to local communities, such as our Carmen de Andacollo Operations, Trail Operations and Elkview Operations located next to Andacollo, Trail and Sparwood, respectively. Even our operations that are located a significant distance from settlements, such as Red Dog Operations in the Northwest Arctic, have the potential to both positively and negatively impact communities across the region. While specific opportunities and concerns about the impacts of our activities vary among communities in the areas where we operate, one of the common expectations of communities is meaningful engagement throughout the mining life cycle. 

In 2015, we took a number of measures to reduce costs across our operations in response to persistent challenging market conditions. These measures included workforce reductions and reductions in capital spending, some of which impact local hiring and procurement. Given these circumstances, we worked to increase our engagement with local COIs to keep them informed of the challenges we faced and the steps we took to address them. Similarly, we engaged with communities specifically on tailings management in 2015, in response to the tailing dam breaches at the Mount Polley and Samarco mines, operated by other companies. 

Performance Highlights


responses received through our feedback mechanism. Common topics were related to environmental questions and concerns, Indigenous-related concerns or concerns originating from Indigenous COIs, opportunities related to community investment, and our mining activities.

Our Stories

  • Fort McKay Métis & Teck Sign Frontier Project Participation Agreement
  • Fort Chipewyan Métis & Teck Sign Frontier Project Participation Agreement
  • Reclamation Example:  From a Tailings Pond to a Trout Pond
  • Reclamation Example: Rehabilitating Historic Sites
  • Reclamation Example: Making a Mine Pit into an Aquatic Habitat
  • The Road to Safer Highways
  • Closure Example: Preparing for Life After the Sullivan Mine
  • Closure Example: Collaborating with Indigenous Peoples at Sä Dena Hes
  • Closure Example: Planning for Closure at Duck Pond
  • Closure Example: Cooperative Planning for Land Uses After Mining
  • In Conversation – Ktunaxa Nation Council and Teck discuss Impact Management and Benefits Agreement
  • Reducing Healthcare Acquired Infection Rates at Hospitals with Antimicrobial Copper
  • Helping Chilean Communities Rebuild After Floods
  • Collaborative Land Use Planning at Highland Valley Copper
  • Collaborating on Closure Planning at Duck Pond Operations
  • Studying Traditional Plant use at Highland Valley Copper
  • Supporting Indigenous Students in Canada
  • Engaging with Communities in Turkey
  • Partnering to Create Value
  • Teck Partners with UN Women to Empower Indigenous Women in Chile
  • Crocodile Rock
  • Working Together to Help During a Crisis
  • Supporting Youth in Northwest Alaska
  • Bringing Unique Opportunities to Students in Alaska
  • Saving the Lives of Children in Senegal
  • Our Targets and Commitments

    Our goal is to engage with communities to identify social, economic and environmental priorities and to mutually define outcomes and measures of success.
    We recognize that the strength of our relationships with communities is determined by how effectively we:

    • Achieve and maintain effective and meaningful communications with local communities
    • Manage our impacts on local communities
    • Create sustainable benefits for local communities

    How Does Teck Manage Community Engagement?

    Our vision is to build strong relationships with communities and create lasting mutual benefits based on respect for what communities value through engagement. Community engagement is an iterative and ongoing process of developing and deepening the relationship between our sites and COIs. Community engagement is guided by our Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) policies and Management Standards as outlined on page 12, our Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Policies, and the Social Management and Responsibility at Teck (SMART) Framework. These standards, policies and management tools inform all activities across Teck and across the mining life cycle. Through meaningful engagement and collaboration, we build trusting relationships with COIs to manage social risks, impacts and opportunities, and comply with HSEC Management Standards and international commitments.

    At Teck, we begin engagement with communities at the earliest phase of the mining life cycle in order to achieve and maintain community trust and support for our activities. We work to engage communities and continuously demonstrate our ability to effectively manage environmental and social impacts while providing opportunities and mutually defined benefits throughout the mining life cycle. Engagement to develop an understanding and earn early support for our activities has the potential to reduce costs, increase the predictability of project development timelines and budgets, and generally strengthen long-term relationships with  COIs.  

    The SMART toolkit provides guidance to achieve conformance with our community-related HSEC Management Standards. 

    The SMART tools and guides are categorized into:

    • Thematic guides, which provide a definition and explanation of relevant themes throughout the mining life cycle; these themes include human rights, the rights of Indigenous Peoples, gender and vulnerable groups
    • Process tools, which provide direction on understanding and managing the social impacts of our activities; these tools include engagement planning, social risk assessment and managing social impacts
    • Phase-specific tools, which provide guidance on thematic and process activities specific to a phase in the mining life cycle, such as during the exploration or closure stage

    Figure 29: Managing Community Engagement

    We have Communities teams at all our operations who are focused on implementing these tools to build and strengthen trust-based relationships with our local COIs. At our exploration and development projects, exploration geologists and project managers are provided with the tools and training they need to effectively and appropriately engage with local COIs through all stages of their activities. These exploration and development personnel are supported by country-based communities specialists. Teck’s corporate community team provides guidance and reviews performance related to understanding and managing our impacts on, and relationships with, COIs across operations, projects and exploration activities. The SMART tools are implemented in a “Plan-Do-Check-Act” cycle, which uses planning, implementation, monitoring, and review processes to drive improvements in managing social risks and opportunities as outlined in the table below. 

    Table 18: Implementing Social Management Activities

    Management Actions

    Implementation Detail



    Understand the broad socio-economic context, undertake a social risk assessment, and plan risk management activities

    We conduct social baseline studies to understand existing socio-economic conditions in the region. We have conducted social baseline studies at the majority of our operations and at key development projects to identify opportunities for improvements to community well-being. The baseline information also enables Teck to measure socio-economic performance.

    We conduct social impact assessments to help us understand how our activities might positively and negatively impact local communities, and as required by regulatory approval processes. For example, we completed social impact assessments for the Baldy Ridge Expansion Project in the Elk Valley. We also initiated a social impact study in support the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project in Chile.

    We also conduct social risk assessment to help us understand how and why impacts from our activities are relevant to our COIs and how external factors can affect COI acceptance of our activities, and, ultimately, our ability to conduct business.


    Engage with COIs and manage risks

    Starting from early exploration, we conduct COI mapping and “Area of Influence” exercises in order to help define local COIs that we then seek to engage with. Early engagement gives communities an opportunity to learn about Teck, who we are, how we operate, and the details of our proposed exploration long before any activities begin. This allows the community to develop an understanding of our activities and an early opportunity to express their concerns and interests. Teck also benefits from establishing these early relationships. When this occurs, we are more likely to develop exploration projects that can incorporate community feedback and secure their support. We conduct Area of Influence and COI identification exercises at all our operations, development and exploration projects.

    Maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts through proactive management actions that are informed by community consultation

    We minimize our negative impacts primarily through stringent and comprehensive environmental management systems and through engagement to understand and manage issues of importance to COIs. We maximize positive impacts by seeking ways to improve the socio-economic well-being of local communities through local employment and procurement opportunities, taxation and payments to governments, and direct voluntary investments into communities. Please see the Economic Performance and Contributions section starting on page 23 for detailed discussions on how we accomplish this goal.

    Check and Act

    Monitor and evaluate performance to understand the effectiveness of management actions and improve on them where necessary

    Our primary means for measuring the effectiveness of our management approach is through the information we receive via feedback mechanisms and engagement, including surveys, workshops, town hall meetings, and grievance mechanisms. Our feedback mechanisms are designed to enable our COIs to ask questions, to express concerns and provide feedback about any area of our activities, and to receive a timely response. Through direct engagement with local COIs, we can gauge the success of our management approaches and determine how we need to adjust them to improve results.

    Recognize and adapt to changes in impacts throughout the mining life cycle

    Operations routinely update their social risk assessments to ensure the impacts of our activities are avoided or minimized and, where unavoidable, rehabilitated or rectified. This process of continual improvement is embedded in our system and helps us to respond to changing conditions or priorities of COIs where we operate. Building on engagement and assessment activities, we analyze the results and, incorporating our past experiences and industry knowledge, can reasonably foresee issues that will need management, as well as opportunities for the realization of benefits.

    In order to build strong relationships with communities based on trust and mutual respect, it is essential that the interests of communities are heard and that their concerns are addressed. Teck staff at all sites undertake frequent and, at times, significant engagement activities with communities to bring these interests and concerns to light. These activities include regular disclosure about site activities, direct consultation on significant changes in mining activities, and the creation of formal processes with community members to address issues in an ongoing and cooperative way.  

    Teck also provides direct feedback mechanisms at every site to specifically ensure that those who want to submit any kind of feedback— be it a comment, question, concern or complaint –are able to do so easily and, if they choose, anonymously. Our SMART Feedback Mechanism Tool guides the process of developing and implementing a feedback mechanism appropriate to the scale of mining activity. These mechanisms may include dedicated phone lines, in-person or online platforms to provide feedback. To date, all of Teck’s operations, projects and exploration sites have implemented feedback mechanisms. Feedback items that are received are recorded using our TrackLine system and categorized into four levels: 

    1. Feedback/donation request
    2. Question or concern
    3. Issue, concern or grievance  
    4. Repeated and ongoing concern, or an issue, concern or grievance that is major in nature and may include a breach of law or company policy


    Levels 3 and 4 feedback items are referred to as “grievances”, recognizing that they are often specific issues of concern to community members that require a response and potential further action from the company.

    We investigate all grievance-type feedback to determine the root cause and to implement appropriate actions, and we communicate this information in a timely manner back to the concerned party. Our aim is to resolve and close out any grievance to the satisfaction of all parties, and as applicable, recommend and/or implement changes to our practices, procedures and activities to prevent future grievances.

    What Was Our Performance in Community Engagement in 2015?

    All operations, projects and exploration sites continue to demonstrate a high level of performance on engagement with key COIs to address current and emerging issues and maximize opportunities that provide strategic value for both Teck and those communities. 

    We demonstrate our performance in community engagement by reporting on dialogue training, impact management, general feedback received, grievances and disputes. For a detailed discussion on our 2015 performance in creating sustainable benefits for local communities, please visit Economic Performance and Contributions.

    Progress on Implementing the SMART Framework

    In 2015, we continued to support work on the Frontier Project and Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 social and environmental impact assessments using SMART tools. We used the SMART framework to provide early guidance for Project Corridor. The SMART framework and training were also used to guide completion of social risk assessments at all of our operations and key development projects. 

    In addition, we focused on continuous improvement in engagement including dialogue training for Communities staff and other key members at our Quebrada Blanca and Carmen de Andacollo Operations, Santiago office and Project Corridor. This approach to engagement helps strengthens our mutual understanding of priorities and concerns.

    Engagement on Actual or Potential Impacts
    Activities across the mining life cycle may result in a range of social, economic and environmental impacts. Examples of specific impacts experienced at our operations in 2015 and how we responded are discussed in Table 19. Please refer to the Communities of Interest page on our website for a detailed discussion on how we engage our COIs to understand their concerns and avoid, minimize and mitigate issues.

    Table 19: Actual and Potential Impacts from Our Activities and Major Engagement Activities

    Actual or Potential Impacts on Communities from Our Activities


    Major Engagement Activities

    Community: Concerns about  Red Dog Operations (RDO) activities related to subsistence resources, traditional land use, and community health

    Red Dog Operations in Northern Alaska

    We supported an independent process for the community of Kivalina to evaluate changes of traditional use resulting from the presence of RDO. We are working with NANA and the Kivalina IRA Council to establish a formal working group with the community of Kivalina. The objective of the working group is to develop an independent and collaborative process for the community to investigate and address their concerns related to the mine’s activities. 

    Socio-economic: Socio-economic impacts on the District of Sparwood from the development of the Baldy Ridge Extension (BRE) project

    Elkview Operations (EVO) in the Elk Valley of British Columbia

    In collaboration with the District of Sparwood, we developed a community engagement plan focused on local COIs to ensure potential impacts of the BRE project are minimized and mitigated.

    Environmental: Potential impacts on aquatic or human health from selenium levels

    Steelmaking coal operations in the Elk Valley of British Columbia

    We facilitated community consultation on the first year of implementation of the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan to communicate progress and solicit feedback on continuous improvement.

    Socio-economic: Potential impacts on relationships with Indigenous Peoples as a consequence of lack of awareness of customs, culture or manners

    With the support and participation of the Ktunaxa Nation, we completed cross-cultural training to educate employees on cultural awareness and sensitivity at all Elk Valley operations.

    Environmental/socio-economic: Actual and potential impacts on agricultural livelihoods and community well-being due to dust from blasting

    Carmen de Andacollo (CdA) Operations in Northern Chile


    At our CdA Operations in Chile, we are working closely with the community and regulators to address concerns associated with dust related to blasting and mining activities. In late 2014, the Chilean government established requirements aimed at improving air quality (particulate dust levels) in the community of Andacollo. The plan, which came into force on January 1, 2015, sets out commitments, terms and responsibilities for Teck, for another local mining company and for local government towards improving air quality in the Andacollo region. In response to these requirements and as part of ongoing efforts to improve air quality and reduce dust in the Andacollo region, senior management from CdA, representatives from Chile’s Ministry of Environment and municipal government officials announced the launch of the operation’s detailed Atmospheric Decontamination Plan. The plan’s objective is to lower dust emissions by 65% over the next two years.

    Economic/human rights: Balancing land use and access with the right to a livelihood from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM)


    In 2015, there were 25 ongoing contracts with small-scale miners, of which 15 are active. The purpose of the contracts is to improve the health, safety, and environment and community aspects of small-scale mining extraction in areas of CdA.  These efforts help strengthen the livelihoods of the small scale miners by providing guidance on occupational safety and health and best practices in collaboration with the government of Chile. The contracts also form an agreement between the small-scale mines and the government on security, mining and rehabilitation.

    Environment: Impacts on water


    Exploration in Canada

    Exploration conducted pre-drill and post-drill water surveys on a number of sites to build an understanding of water chemistry and monitor potential impacts. Through engagement with COIs, this effort helps to build trust as well as enhance understanding of mineral exploration. In 2015, Teck tested a semi-closed diamond drilling system to manage water use and capture drill cuttings from drilling. 

    Human Rights: Impact on livelihood

    Exploration in Canada

    Helicopter transportation to remote sites has the potential to impact the livelihood of guide outfitters. To avoid disruption, we engage early with guide outfitters to discuss our proposed exploration activities and work closely with them to plan our programs respecting their guiding activities.

    In 2015, we had an unplanned interaction in the field with a guide outfitter. We received their feedback and engaged with them early in the year to work with us during planning stages to ensure we did not disrupt their activities again.

    Feedback Mechanism Activity in 2015

    In 2015, we received 887 feedback responses through direct feedback mechanisms established across our sites. Figure 13 below illustrates a breakdown of feedback received through those mechanisms by category. Common topics included environmental questions and concerns, Indigenous-related concerns, opportunities related to community investment, and our mining activities.

    Figure 13: 2015 Total Feedback Received Through Feedback Mechanism by Topic Category


    In 2015, we received less community feedback through our mechanisms than we did in 2013 and 2014. Having analyzed data over three years, we believe this is largely attributed to shifts in project permitting and exploration activities that resulted in higher quantities of feedback through our mechanisms in those previous years. We also believe that continued proactive engagement with our communities has created more opportunities for COIs and individuals to provide feedback directly to company representatives without using formal feedback mechanisms. Nevertheless, Teck will continue to monitor the performance of feedback mechanisms and engagement processes across sites to ensure that communities continue to have diverse opportunities to engage with and provide feedback to all our operations, major projects and key exploration projects.

    Grievances and Disputes

    In 2015, of the total feedback received, 66 were considered grievances (classified as level 3 or level 4 feedback). Some disputes may be related to the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Please refer to Engaging with Indigenous Peoples section for more detail. 

    Figure 14: 2015 Total Grievances Received Through Feedback Mechanisms by Topic Category

    It is important to note that the specific topics of grievances are determined by the individuals who file the grievances. They may be reflective of either perceived or actual events taking place as a result of company activities, and therefore do not necessarily constitute an actual negative impact or non-conformance event by the company. Teck’s practice is that all feedback is acknowledged, assessed and a response is communicated to the complainant with the goal of providing a satisfactory reply or resolution for that complainant.

    Disputes are considered significant when they cannot be resolved jointly with the complainant, are repeated or widespread, are breaches of law or company policy, are accusations related to human rights or the rights of Indigenous Peoples, or are related to death or serious illness. In 2015, two of Teck’s operations⎯Carmen de Andacollo and Red Dog⎯experienced significant disputes summarized below:

    Carmen de Andacollo Operations 
    A significant community dispute occurred at Carmen de Andacollo Operations (CdA) in 2015. Two blockades occurred in July 2015 on a highway near the mine. The dispute was primarily related to ongoing grievances associated with dust. CdA is actively updating its engagement strategy in response to this incident and working to better understand the root cause of these disputes with the goal of engaging proactively with all communities of interest. 

    Red Dog Operations
    At our Red Dog Operations, two significant disputes occurred. The first dispute was a petition from the Kivalina IRA Council to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to commence a Preliminary Assessment and determine if activities at Red Dog pose a human health or environment risk. Teck collaborated with NANA to engage with the Kivalina IRA Council to develop a Memorandum of Agreement to create an independent and collaborative process to investigate and address concerns. As a result, the Kivalina IRA Council requested the EPA withdraw their petition for a Preliminary Assessment. 

    A second dispute was related to subsistence hunting. In September 2015, Red Dog briefly closed access to the road between the port and mine site in response to concerns of the Red Dog Subsistence Committee, who stressed the importance of ensuring mining activities do not impede caribou migration. Although efforts were made to communicate the reason for the closure, several calls and emails were received from Iñupiat residents alleging this action impeded their right to subsistence hunting. Red Dog and the Subsistence Committee are examining options to improve approaches and communications with Iñupiat residents for 2016. 


    Sustainability Strategy Spotlight

    Progress Against Our 2015 Goals

    • Continued work towards implementation of community aspects of our HSEC Management Standards and expanded our use of Social Management and Responsibility at Teck (SMART) tools to 100% of operations, including integration of social considerations into closure planning.

    Outlook for Community Engagement

    The slowdown in the global mining industry will continue to have impacts on Teck and communities, as we implement further measures to reduce costs and improve competitiveness. As such, we will continue to be transparent around the economic issues we are facing and how we are responding. By continuing to integrate these activities across the mining life cycle⎯from exploration to projects to operations⎯and engaging with communities to identify social, economic and environmental priorities and mutually define outcomes, we will work towards our vision of building strong relationships and creating lasting mutual benefits.

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    Teck is a diversified resource company committed to responsible mining and mineral development with business units focused on copper, zinc, steelmaking coal and energy.