We work to engage with Indigenous Peoples and achieve their free, prior and informed consent when proposing new or substantially modified projects. We aim to foresee any interruptions or complications to our projects by proactively integrating the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples into company decision-making throughout the mining life cycle, and by creating lasting benefits that respect their unique interests and aspirations. To ensure strong lasting relationships are initiated as early as possible, Indigenous rights holders and stakeholders are identified and engagement activities occur from exploration through to closure.
Sharing Economic Benefits
Most of our agreements with Indigenous Peoples include principles and goals related to employment, such as agreement on the principle that Indigenous citizens should have a standard of living comparable to the non-Indigenous population. In addition, agreements often include commitments to training and employment processes. Commitments in these agreements reflect the priorities of the local community and can include offering specific roles exclusively to qualified Indigenous Peoples, establishing employment processes and related key performance indicators, and supporting local apprenticeship and training programs, including internship opportunities for Indigenous students. For example, at our Red Dog Mine in Alaska, we have an operating agreement with the landowner, NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., a Regional Alaska Native corporation owned by the Iñupiat people of northwest Alaska. Under the agreement, NANA receives a portion of the mine’s profits, and a majority of Red Dog’s employees and contractors are NANA shareholders.
In British Columbia, in addition to resource revenue sharing established directly through agreements with Teck, the province negotiates Economic and Community Development Agreements (ECDAs). ECDAs with Indigenous Peoples are for sharing the direct mineral tax revenue on new mines and major mine expansions. Specific to Teck’s operations, the Ktunaxa Nation has entered into an ECDA regarding Teck’s Elk Valley steelmaking coal operations, and Nlaka’pamux communities have entered into an ECDA regarding Teck’s Highland Valley Copper Operations.
We also pursue company-wide approaches to increasing Indigenous employment, training and retention through the implementation of our Indigenous Peoples Policy and our sustainability strategy.
Procurement and Hiring Practices and Indigenous Peoples
Procurement with Indigenous businesses is critical in sharing the economic benefits of mining. In accordance with our Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Management Standards, part of our selection of suppliers considers possible representation from Indigenous or traditionally excluded groups within each supplier’s ownership structure. Where we have formal agreements with Indigenous Peoples, we identify local Indigenous suppliers and develop processes to share information on procurement opportunities and our supplier qualification requirements. In some situations, we work directly with Indigenous suppliers to help them meet our requirements, or provide them with training and business development support. In 2019, we developed site-based tools to enhance procurement with Indigenous businesses, including a review of procurement processes and documents and developing best practice guidance.
Community Investment and Indigenous Peoples
To support our relationships with Indigenous Peoples, Teck invests in a wide range of initiatives and programs that benefit Indigenous Peoples on local, regional and national levels. This includes investments that support Indigenous language and cultural training, youth education and development, health and wellness programs, and various environmental initiatives. For example, in 2019, Teck partnered with UN Women to develop a training centre to empower Indigenous women in northern Chile through high-quality, culturally relevant, flexible training programs that focus on economic development, entrepreneurship and business management skills. Our aim is to ensure this and other community investments align with needs and opportunities identified in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples.
Cultural Awareness Training
To enhance our capacity to engage with Indigenous communities we conduct cultural awareness training for Communities teams at a number of our operations including, for example, at Red Dog Operations, where a significant number of our employees self-identify as Indigenous. Cultural awareness training provides an excellent opportunity to develop awareness and understanding of a diversity of Indigenous perspectives to inform Teck’s decision-making across the company. In the Elk Valley, the Ktunaxa Nation provides cultural awareness training to Teck teams, sharing valuable context and traditional knowledge to inform work at the site level.
There are a number of processes through which Indigenous Peoples and communities can inform us of concerns, including formal grievance mechanisms, dispute resolution clauses in agreements, and ongoing engagement. Additionally, agreements with Indigenous Peoples often establish processes to work through grievances and other areas of concern, and help to fulfill our commitment to improving community well-being in self-defined ways while gaining the broad support of the community.