Vancouver BC - Teck Cominco Limited (TSX: TCK.A and TCK.B, NYSE: TCK) today announced that due to reduced metal demand and the persistent weakness in zinc prices, it will temporarily shut its Pend Oreille Operations near Metaline Falls, Washington.
The temporary shutdown is an extension of a recent decision to reduce refined zinc production at Teck’s Trail Operations, the primary customer of Pend Oreille’s mine production.
“The temporary shutdown of the Pend Oreille mine is a difficult decision, but we must act prudently to balance production with declining zinc demand,” said Mike Agg, Senior Vice President, Zinc. “The employees at Pend Oreille have worked diligently to make the operation competitive and they are to be commended. However, today’s announcement is a reflection of the challenging business environment we face. We recognize the impact of this temporary closure on the employees and the community and we will do our best to assist in the transition.”
The Pend Oreille mine and mill complex will continue to operate for the next two months. The operation will then move to a care and maintenance status to ensure it meets all permit requirements and is in prime condition to return to production when market conditions improve. Approximately 165 employees at Pend Oreille will receive severance and other benefits.
The Pend Oreille decision follows a series of corporate actions announced in late November designed to facilitate debt repayment and position Teck to effectively manage its business in the face of deteriorating global economic conditions.
Teck restarted the Pend Oreille mine in 2004. Since that time, the mine has produced 170,000 tonnes of zinc metal contained in concentrate. The mine is owned and operated by Teck Washington Incorporated, a wholly owned subsidiary of Teck Cominco Limited.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and forward-looking information as defined in the Securities Act (Ontario) and comparable legislation in other jurisdictions. Forward-looking statements and information can be identified by the use of words such as “expects”, “intends”, “is expected”, “potential” or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “should”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur, or be achieved.
Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Teck to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include statements as to management’s plans concerning the reduction and refinancing of debt incurred in connection with the acquisition of the assets of Fording, and management’s expectations with respect to Teck’s future cash flows. These statements are based on a number of assumptions, including, among others, assumptions regarding general business and economic conditions, credit market conditions, and future actions of contractual counterparties and taxation authorities. The foregoing list of assumptions is not exhaustive. Events or circumstances could cause actual results to differ materially.
Factors that may cause actual results to vary include, but are not limited to, risks relating to changes in interest and currency exchange rates, changes in general economic conditions or conditions in commodities, credit and financial markets, operational risks common to Teck’s mining and processing operations and other risk factors as detailed from time to time in Teck’s reports filed with Canadian securities administrators.
Certain of these risks are described in more detail in the annual information form of Teck and in its public filings with Canadian securities administrators. Teck does not assume the obligation to revise or update these forward-looking statements after the date of this document or to revise them to reflect the occurrence of future unanticipated events, except as may be required under applicable securities laws.
Teck is a diversified resource company committed to responsible mining and mineral development with major business units focused on copper, metallurgical coal, zinc, gold and energy. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, its shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols TCK.A and TCK.B and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TCK. Further information about Teck can be found at www.teck.com.
Investor Relations Contact:
Vice President, Investor Relations & Strategic Analysis
Teck Cominco Limited
Director, Corporate Affairs
Teck Cominco Limited
(604) 699 4407