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Responsible Production and Waste Management

Our waste management performance; managing product impacts through materiality stewardship; responding to regulatory requirements and customer expectations.

GRI Indicators

306-2, 306-4, G4-DMA (Materials Stewardship)

Responsible Production and Waste Management

A “circular economy” is a system that is aimed at minimizing waste and maximizing resources. This is contrasted with a “linear economy”, where resources are extracted or harvested, manufactured into a product and in the end disposed as waste. The shift towards a more circular economy will change the way businesses and society are structured to maximize responsible resource use while meeting growing resource demand in a responsible way.

Each of the three principles of a circular economy — design out waste and pollution, keep products in use and regenerate natural systems — present both risks and opportunities for the mining industry. For example, demand from customers, investors and civil society will increase for products that are shown to have been responsibly produced and sourced. A circular economy would also see an increasing move away from single-use and disposable products towards more durable and reusable items, which could drive new demand for metals and minerals. And new systems that design out waste or find productive uses for waste materials will be increasingly implemented. This is coupled with an increasing demand for the traceability of mined materials that has given rise to new and growing product certifications and standards.

Teck provides key commodities required for sustainable products and infrastructure, which are durable and naturally recyclable. Teck has long worked to reduce waste and pollution, to keep products in use and to help improve the natural environment where we operate. Our Trail Operations recycles various metals and its smelting and refining operation is highly efficient. We have a Materials Stewardship Committee responsible for ensuring the responsible use of our products and, at our operations, we track and report on waste and are implementing waste reduction and recycling programs. Moving forward, we are setting new goals to be a leader in responsibly providing the metals and minerals needed for the transition to an economy focused on reducing waste and keeping products in use, and doing our part in waste reduction by disposing zero industrial waste. 


Our Approach to Responsible Production and Waste Management

In the circular economy, waste and pollution are reduced, materials are kept in use and, ultimately, natural systems are regenerated. This means increased demand for reusable and multi-use materials such as metals and minerals. Teck is supporting the global move towards an economy focused on reducing waste and keeping products in use by providing key commodities required for sustainable products and infrastructure, which are durable and naturally recyclable. Teck has long worked towards reducing waste and pollution, keeping products in use and helping to improve the natural environment where we operate.  

Teck supports responsible production by providing the materials that contribute to sustainability while also working to minimize environmental impacts. We process urban ore and secondary sources at our Trail Operations, and we track the products we sell to direct customers through our Materials Stewardship Committee. In addition, we have implemented measures to reduce waste and deleterious elements associated with our products.

 

The Board of Directors, through its Safety and Sustainability Committee, broadly oversees health, safety, environment and community policies, systems, performance and auditing, including implementation of our Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Management Standards. Waste-related incidents are reported as they occur, in monthly company-wide performance reports and on a quarterly basis to the HSEC Risk Management Committee, which is made up of several members of our executive management team. The following senior leaders are involved in implementing the management of responsible production and waste:

  • The Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs reports directly to the President and CEO and is responsible for sustainability, health and safety, environment, community, and Indigenous affairs, including waste management
  • The Senior Vice President, Marketing and Logistics reports directly to the President and CEO and is responsible for monitoring and meeting customer expectations for our products; he is an Advisory Committee Member for both the International Copper Association and the International Zinc Association
  • The Vice President, Environment oversees compliance with environmental standards for projects, operations and our legacy properties, and regularly reviews environmental performance risks and strategic issues, including tailings, biodiversity, water, air, energy and waste
  • The Vice President, Risk and Security, who reports directly to the Senior Vice President, Commercial and Legal Affairs, is the Chair of our Materials Stewardship Committee and oversees our materials stewardship strategy

Teck’s approach to responsible production and waste management is addressed through several Teck policies and guidance documents, listed below. The Safety and Sustainability Committee of the Board oversees these management standards and the associated guidance documents, and our adherence to them.

Teck’s Policies and Standards relevant to Responsible Production and Waste Management

Our Code of Sustainable Conduct outlines our commitment to sustainable development, efficient and responsible use of energy, water and other resources, and to responsible material use in our supply chain. Our Expectations for Suppliers and Contractors were established to clearly communicate Teck’s expectations for suppliers of goods and contractors performing services for or on behalf of Teck. Our Health, Safety, Environment and Community (HSEC) Management Standards and Guidance give general guidance on materials stewardship and mine waste management. Teck’s HSEC Management Standards put our Charter and Codes into practice and were modelled after the International Standard Organization’s ISO 14001 management standards, OHSAS 18001 standards and EPA compliance-focused EMS guidance. All of our operations have waste management aspects in their permits, and several operations have waste-specific policies aligned with their permit requirements.

We work with various industry associations to support responsible materials production and waste management.

  • International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM): ICMM is a global industry association that represents leading international mining and metals companies who are dedicated to a safe, fair and sustainable mining industry. As a member company, we are required to implement the 10 Sustainable Development Framework Principles, including Principle 8: facilitate and support the knowledge base and systems for responsible design, use, reuse, recycling and disposal of products containing metals and minerals
  • International Copper Association: The International Copper Association brings together the global copper industry to develop and defend markets for copper and to make a positive contribution to society’s sustainable development goals.
  • International Zinc Association (IZA): IZA is a non-profit organization that promotes the role that zinc plays in product applications, human health and crop nutrition. We participate in IZA’s programs that have a strategic focus in the areas of environment and sustainable development, technology and market development, and communications.
  • International Lead Association: The International Lead Association is dedicated to encouraging the responsible use of lead and its compounds.

Teck is supporting the global move towards an economy focused on reducing waste and keeping products in use by providing key commodities required for sustainable products and infrastructure, which are durable and naturally recyclable. Teck has long worked towards reducing waste and pollution, keeping products in use and helping to improve the natural environment where we operate. 

Minimizing Waste: Our Approach to Waste Management

We have permit and regulatory requirements for treating and recycling waste at all of our operations. The following categories of waste are products of Teck’s operations. Waste disposal methods are determined based on data and information provided by waste management suppliers specific to each site’s applicable factors.  Our focus is on reducing hazardous and non-hazardous waste.

Hazardous Waste and Non-Hazardous Waste: Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are segregated and disposed of in accordance with material-specific waste management plans and regulatory requirements. The primary hazardous wastes produced at our operations include waste oil, solvents, antifreeze, paint, batteries and fluorescent tubes. Licensed contractors recycle or dispose of this waste off-site. Non-hazardous waste (e.g., scrap metal, wood waste, glass, tires, cardboard and paper) is recycled whenever possible.

Waste Rock: Waste rock, which is material that is removed to access ores, coal and oil sands, typically contain trace amounts of naturally occurring metals and other constituents. The bulk of waste rock from our operations is placed in areas that are specifically designed to contain the rock. The remainder of the rock that may still have some geochemical concern is placed within tailings storage facilities or used to backfill open pits and underground workings.

Waste rock that is not susceptible to geochemical instability such as oxidation processes, which can lead to metal leaching, is also used for reclamation activities and to construct dams, roads and similar structures. Long-term storage of waste rock is conducted in accordance with closure plans and approved by regulatory authorities. These plans most often include contouring, covering and revegetation to achieve established land use objectives.

Coarse Coal Refuse: Coarse coal refuse is a coarse fraction of raw coal that is separated during processing; it is not currently an economic product. Coarse coal refuse is placed in designated engineered facilities or, if determined to not be susceptible to leaching, it may be used as a construction material. Coarse coal refuse can also be mixed with dewatered fine coal refuse within engineered structures; Teck carries out this practice at several of our operations for storage efficiency and optimal geotechnical performance. Long-term storage of coarse coal refuse is conducted in accordance with regulatory approved closure plans, which most often involves contouring, covering and revegetation to achieve established land use objectives.

Tailings and Fine Coal Refuse: Tailings and fine coal refuse are the finer fractions of the processed mined material that have no economically recoverable commodities. These materials are typically stored in tailings storage facilities. See Our Approach to Tailings Management, as well as our website

Recycling: Recycling is an important aspect of our everyday lives, as it conserves scarce natural resources, reduces the amount of waste that must be burned or buried, and helps to sustain the environment for future generations. We recycle in accordance with international, national, provincial and local requirements, and we aim to exceed these requirements. Continually improving recycling at our operations by identifying and sharing best practices throughout the company is our goal — including ongoing assessments of our recycling and reuse practices.


 

Teck’s Recycling Methods and Definitions

Recycling Definition

Recycling for Value Recovery

Industrial Waste Processing

Domestic Recycling

Teck’s Method

Treating materials to create a renewed value for Teck in their new form

Treating end-of-life materials generated from our own operations and from other sources

Recycling of household items such as newspaper, bottles, cans and organics

Our work in regenerating natural systems includes securing a net positive impact on biodiversity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, using renewable energy, improving access to fresh water, and reclaiming land at the end of mine life to meet post-mining land use objectives mutually defined by communities of interest.

Learn more about our approach to these topics on our website.

Strategic Priorities:

  • Be a leader in responsibly providing the metals and minerals needed for the transition to an economy focused on reducing waste and keeping products in use 
  • Work towards disposing zero industrial waste by 2040

Goals:

  • By 2025, establish site-based industrial waste inventories and plans to turn waste into useful and appropriate products. Based on these inventories and plans, set goals for industrial waste reduction.
  • By 2025, develop and implement a responsible producer program and "product passport" that is traceable through the value chain.
  • Be a leader in product stewardship by continuing to implement our Materials Stewardship program and produce secondary metals at our Trail Operations.

 

For more information on our existing and new sustainability strategy goals, see the Sustainability Strategy section of our website.

 

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.

Type

Organization

Items Reviewed

External

International Council on Mining and Metals: Sustainability Report assurance

  • Total hazardous waste sent off-site but not recycled
  • Principle 6: Pursue continual improvement in environmental performance issues, such as water stewardship, energy use and climate change
  • Principle 8: Facilitate and support the knowledge base and systems for responsible design, use, reuse and disposal of products containing metals and minerals

External

ISO 14001 External Audit

  • Components of the environmental management system at each site

Internal

Risk-based Health, Safety and Environment audits

  • Adherence to regulatory and permit requirements
  • Effectiveness of controls based on risk profile

Following each of these types of verification, applicable management teams use the results to inform future actions and Teck’s five-year planning process.

We report on our performance against these indicators and our progress towards our waste management goals on an annual basis in our sustainability report.

Our Performance in Responsible Production and Waste Management in 2019

Waste Management Performance

In 2019, our operations generated approximately 980 million tonnes of mineral waste, with the vast majority being waste rock from the extraction of ore and steelmaking coal. We have permit and regulatory requirements for treating and recycling waste at all of our operations. The following categories of waste are products of Teck’s operations. Waste disposal methods are determined based on data and information provided by waste management suppliers specific to each site’s applicable factors.

Waste Rock: Waste rock, which is material that is removed to access ores, coal and oil sands, typically contain trace amounts of naturally occurring metals and other constituents. The bulk of waste rock from our operations is placed in areas that are specifically designed to contain the rock. The remainder of the rock, which may still have some geochemical concern, is placed within tailings storage facilities or used to backfill open pits and underground workings.

Coarse Coal Refuse: Coarse coal refuse is a coarse fraction of raw coal that is separated during processing; it is not currently an economic product. Coarse coal refuse is placed in designated engineered facilities or, if determined to not be susceptible to leaching, it may be used as a construction material.

Tailings and Fine Coal Refuse: Tailings and fine coal refuse are the finer fractions of the processed mined material that have no economically recoverable commodities. These materials are typically stored in tailings storage facilities. Learn more about tailings management on our website.

Figure 20: Mineral Waste (million tonnes) 

Hazardous and non-hazardous wastes are segregated and disposed of in accordance with material-specific waste management plans and regulatory requirements. The primary hazardous wastes produced at our operations include waste oil, solvents, antifreeze, paint, batteries and fluorescent tubes. Licensed contractors recycle or dispose of this waste off-site. Non-hazardous waste (e.g., scrap metal, wood waste, glass, tires, cardboard and paper) is recycled whenever possible.

Figure 21: Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste (tonnes)(1) 

 

Red Dog Operations and the Toxic Release Inventory

Every year, Red Dog is listed on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) due to the volumes of rock and ore safely moved at the mine site each year. Red Dog is required to report the amount of materials moved at the mine site due to the grades of zinc and lead naturally occurring in the rocks. This is part of the mining process and does not indicate any health or environmental effect, including any releases of materials from Red Dog to the environment. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) has also responded to the TRI, noting almost all of the releases from TRI facilities in Alaska are regulated under strict EPA and State of Alaska permits with monitoring and compliance requirements designed to prevent human and environmental harm.

Recycling

Teck’s methods for recycling include recycling for value recovery, industrial waste processing and domestic recycling. We do not currently track office and construction waste, which are managed by licensed external waste service providers. We recycle in accordance with international, national, provincial and local requirements and we aim to exceed these requirements. Continually improving recycling at our operations by identifying and sharing best practices throughout the company is our goal — including ongoing assessments of our recycling and reuse practices.

At our Trail Operations, we recycle materials purchased from external users. Our focus remains on treating cathode ray tube glass, plus small quantities of zinc alkaline batteries and other post-consumer waste through our lead acid battery recycling program.

Figure 22: Recycled Material at Trail Operations

Managing Product Impacts through Materials Stewardship

All Teck products are listed on a Master Product List that is owned and managed by Teck’s Materials Stewardship Committee (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. No new products were added to the Master Product List in 2019.

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. Eight customer site assessments were carried out in 2019, including sites in Canada, China Bolivia and Sweden.

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 International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM), towards continuously improving materials stewardship practices. In 2019, major engagements related to materials stewardship included the engagement with ICMM, International Lead Association, ICA, IZA and Indium, Cadmium, Germanium Reach Consortium

Responding to Regulatory Requirements

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. In 2019, this included regulatory requirements from IMO 020 & Polar Code, Canadian Chemical Management Plan 3 and Responsible Silver (LBMA), which we met for the first time.


Outlook for Responsible Production and Waste Management

Moving forward, we will work towards our strategic priorities of being a leader in responsibly providing the metals and minerals needed for the transition to an economy focused on reducing waste and keeping products in use, and disposing zero industrial waste by 2040. We have set new goals, which include establishing site-based industrial waste inventories and plans to turn waste into useful and appropriate products by 2025 and setting goals for industrial waste reduction based on these inventories and plans. Our goals also focus on developing and implementing a responsible producer program and "product passport" that is traceable through the value chain by 2025 and being a leader in product stewardship by continuing to implement our Materials Stewardship program and produce secondary metals at our Trail Operations. Our focus in 2020 will be on making progress towards achieving our new goals.


Teck

Teck is a diversified resource company committed to responsible mining and mineral development with major business units focused on copper, steelmaking coal and zinc, as well as investments in energy assets.