Our shareholders are the owners of the company and regularly ask us about our current and future plans and projects. Here are responses to some of their recent questions.
1. What is the implication of the B.C. government’s endorsement of Teck’s Saturated Rock Fills (SRF) as an alternative form of water treatment?
There are many benefits of SRF versus more traditional tank-based water treatment facilities. Broadly speaking, SRFs will allow us to achieve the objectives set out in the Elk Valley Water Quality Plan quickly and efficiently. Specific benefits include the ability to treat large volumes of water, less energy use and smaller environmental footprint. SRFs are also quicker to build and less complex to operate, and have lower capital and operating costs.
Our first SRF at Elkview Operations is achieving near complete removal of selenium and nitrate, and we are currently working to expand the Elkview SRF to treat 20 million litres of water per day. Our current plan is that the Fording River tank-based water treatment facility currently under construction will be the last full-scale tank-based facility and that future treatment facilities will be SRFs. Breakthroughs like SRF will help us meet the objectives of our Elk Valley Water Quality Plan as quickly and efficiently as possible.
2. What steps are you taking to manage your tailings risk?
Teck has comprehensive systems and procedures in place based on a six-pillar approach. Our management and emergency response meet the highest standard of safety and environmental protection, including standards set by the Mining Association of Canada. We continue to take steps to further our tailings management, including special reviews by external experts. A recent special review conducted following the tailings dam failure at Brumadinho confirmed that there are no immediate or emerging issues that could result in failure at our sites and that Teck’s tailings management practices are industry leading. We are committed to maintaining the highest standard of safety at our facilities and to working to support industry-wide advancements. This includes working as part of the International Council on Mining and Minerals to advance the development of a new global tailings standard. To learn more about our tailings management, including our six levels of protection, visit teck.com/tailings.
3. What’s happening at Fort Hills?
One of our primary objectives is to maximize the value of our assets. Together with our partners, our focus at Fort Hills is on debottlenecking the operation, which means identifying specific areas and equipment that limit the flow of product so that we are optimizing the overall capacity. Fort Hills is a high-quality, long-life, low-cost asset in a low-risk geopolitical jurisdiction. This makes it a great fit with our strategy.