Our Duck Pond copper and zinc mine in central Newfoundland and Labrador closed in July 2015, after about eight years in operation. As the closure of a mine leads to a decline in employment, local procurement and community investment, it was important for us to plan for closure in a way that supported our employees through the transition and mitigated the impacts of closure on the local communities as much as possible.
The plan was created in collaboration with communities and governments, and included support for employees such as severance, resumé assistance and help identifying employment opportunities at other Teck operations in Canada or other companies in the region. We have connected with more than 60 vendors to collaborate on strategies for how they could participate in the various stages of closure and reclamation and continue to generate local economic benefits. In addition, we are promoting the sale of the Duck Pond mill to potential buyers, in an effort to create new employment and economic opportunities in other areas.
In the years and months leading up to closure we held a series of information sessions in the six local communities to seek input on closure plans. We also scheduled regular meetings and site visits with municipal governments and local organizations. The feedback we received throughout this process was largely concern over lost employment and a desire for information on Teck’s plans to return the land to a pre-mining state for end land uses including hunting, fishing and logging.
The three-phase closure process at Duck Pond began in June 2015. The first phase (2015–2018) includes infrastructure removal and reclamation; the second (2018–2024) constitutes water management and treatment; and the third (2024) phase involves the end of most activities at the site. To ensure the environment is protected during that time, we developed a water quality monitoring program, which was approved by the Newfoundland Department of Environment and Conservation. An application for a new water usage licence was approved.
In 2015, as a result of our performance and community engagement, Duck Pond received the Corporate Citizen of the Year Award from the regional Chamber of Commerce and the Miner of the Year from the local branch of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum.
We continue with decommissioning and reclamation activities at Duck Pond, with a focus on maintaining engagement with our communities of interest to keep them informed and identifying further opportunities to create benefits.