We process urban ore and secondary sources at Trail Operations, manage deleterious elements, and track metals to direct customers through our Materials Stewardship Committee.
Processing Secondary Sources at Trail Operations
Our Trail Operations, one of the world’s largest fully integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining complexes, is located in southern British Columbia. The metallurgical operations produce refined zinc and lead, a variety of precious and specialty metals, chemicals and fertilizer products. Trail Operations takes in several urban ore feeds (lead batteries, alkaline batteries, cathode ray tube glass, zinc ferrites) that represent about 20% new feed to lead circuit.
Managing Product Impacts through Materials Stewardship
In accordance with the ICMM guidance on materials stewardship, we recognize that the value of minerals and metals to society is maximized when the various stakeholders along the value chain undertake activities that minimize risks, improve efficiency and optimize the life cycle of these products.
We know our products have the potential to impact employees, communities and the environment. That’s why we remain committed to stringent product and materials stewardship, and transparency on product impacts. We employ life cycle thinking to understand the potential risks and impacts of our products, beginning with the extraction of raw material from the earth, through to processing, transportation and customer use.
Materials stewardship at Teck is a risk management process to minimize the impact of our products throughout their life cycle on employees, communities and the environment, and to ensure our products satisfy or exceed regulatory and societal needs. This work is conducted primarily by our Materials Stewardship Committee (MSC), who defines and oversees our efforts and is responsible for:
- Understanding the actual or potential risks and impacts of our products
- Making recommendations on approving new product applications
- Managing labelling and packaging requirements
- Monitoring product regulations and technical, transportation and legal issues
- Establishing and evaluating policies and procedures related to materials stewardship
All Teck products are listed on the Master Product List, which is owned and managed by the MSC. For products to be added to the list, a detailed application is submitted to the MSC. Products are assessed on their whole product life cycle, and include customer assessments, legal jurisdiction reviews, logistics and form of transportation, hazardous materials and emergency response, contracts and financial rate of return.
The MSC also commissions and conducts customer assessments to help ensure that products are handled safely by smelters, refineries or other end users. The assessments allow us to uphold business ethics, regulatory requirements, sustainable management practices, and external expectations.
We draw on ecotoxicity expertise developed by various commodity associations and other experts to bring sound science into our management approaches and decisions. Our materials stewardship program is also actively engaged with collective industry efforts, including those of the ICMM, towards continuously improving materials stewardship practices.
Responding to Regulatory Requirements and Responsible Sourcing Expectations
Our materials stewardship efforts have expanded in recent years to meet growing regulatory pressures on mineral concentrates. These are manifested, for example, in the International Maritime Organization bulk cargo requirements, Chinese import restrictions and the Minamata Convention for Mercury. These requirements and restrictions now affect mining companies and smelters globally, and Teck specifically, in the same way that Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regulations have defined chemical management programs for refined metals, alloys and compounds in the European Union since 2006.
There are increasing expectations from customers, investors and civil society that products are responsibly produced and sourced. With the rise of new product certifications and standards — from the International Copper Association’s Copper Mark, to Responsible Steel, to the London Metals Exchange (LME) position on responsible sourcing, which applies to LME-listed metals — it is anticipated that this trend will only amplify across the commodities.
Teck already has several assurance practices in place related to responsible production, including the ICMM Sustainable Development principles, the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining Program at our Canadian operations, and ISO 14001. Responsible production practices continue to be in place for our operations, and since 2018 these include London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) Silver. Teck’s certification for these practices is posted annually on our website. We are actively monitoring new certifications and standards and evaluating them as they arise.