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Relationships with Communities

Local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs, grievance and feedback mechanisms, and community investment.

GRI Indicators
102-34, 201-103, 203-103, 203-1, 205-1, 413-103, 413-1, G4-MM6, G4-MM7

Relationships with Communities

While businesses typically generate economic growth and opportunity in communities in the form of jobs and procurement, the expectation for companies to address challenges such as access to water and air quality continued to increase in 2017. Businesses are facing increasing pressure to better integrate community input, demonstrate the value of their activities and operations and contribute to sustainable development.2

While community engagement can be considered a normal part of doing business for mining companies, the importance of building support for projects and operations continues to increase and evolve. Conflicting interests between communities and companies can result in project delays, operational disruption and increased costs. Maintaining trust through effective community engagement in order to mitigate negative impacts and to maximize positive impacts is a critical component of maintaining social licence to operate, which was ranked as one of the top business risks facing the mining and metals sector in 2017/18 by EY.3

Communities may be affected by the environmental and social impacts of mining, such as competition for water and energy, air emissions, and stress on public services. At the same time, there can be significant opportunities, such as local economic benefits and enhanced infrastructure, when these impacts are well managed in collaboration with communities. In recognition of these risks and opportunities, the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) established stakeholder engagement as one of their 10 Principles. ICMM members, including Teck, are expected to proactively engage key stakeholders on sustainable development challenges and opportunities in an open and transparent manner.

While specific opportunities and concerns about the impacts of our activities vary among communities in the areas where we operate, one of the common expectations of communities is meaningful engagement throughout the mining life cycle and maintaining strong relationships. These relationships continued to be a strategic business priority across all of our sites in 2017. Engagement focused on exploring and advancing shared benefit opportunities as well as managing and mitigating potential impacts on the environment and on human health and, in particular, issues related to air, water, tailings and biodiversity. For example, community engagement has been critical to the social and environmental impact assessment process for our Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project. We engaged communities in relation to the development of all of our projects, including NuevaUnión, and our Zafranal and San Nicolás projects, in Peru and Mexico respectively, and continued to advance relationships with communities near our operations.

(2) Sara Enright, Roger McElrath, and Alison Taylor. The Future of Stakeholder Engagement. Research Report. BSR. 2016.
(3) Top 10 Business Risks Facing Mining and Metals in 2017-2018. EY.

Our Approach to Relationships with Communities

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.

The following senior leaders are involved in implementing the management of relationships with communities:

  • The Senior Vice President, Sustainability and External Affairs reports directly to our CEO and is responsible for sustainability, health and safety, environment, community, and Indigenous affairs
  • The Vice President, Community and Government Relations leads activities related to social management and responsibility, community engagement and community investment

Relationships with communities are part of our annual company objectives, especially in relation to our HSEC performance. HSEC performance is a factor in Teck’s bonus structure and affects from 15% to 20% of each department’s bonuses for all executives. In addition, the personal component of executive bonus ratings may include specific objectives related to community engagement.

Many of our operations are located immediately adjacent to local communities, such as our Carmen de Andacollo Operations in Chile, and Trail and Elkview operations in Canada. Even our operations that are located a significant distance from communities have the potential to positively or negatively affect communities in the region. While specific opportunities and concerns about the impacts of our activities vary among communities in the areas where we operate, one of the common expectations is that Teck will work to maintain positive and productive relationships with communities throughout the mining life cycle.

Maintaining strong relationships with our communities and stakeholders is a strategic business priority across all of our operations. Management of these relationships is focused on exploring and advancing shared benefit opportunities as well as managing and mitigating potential impacts on the environment and on human health. Conflicting interests between communities and companies can result in project delays, operational disruption and increased costs.

Teck’s Code of Sustainable Conduct guides for when and how Teck engages with communities. Our Human Rights Policy, Indigenous Peoples Policy, Code of Ethics and Expectations for Suppliers and Contractors also provide guidance on building and managing relationships with communities.

We work with various local, national and international organizations and programs to support improvements in best practices for social management and responsibility across the industry:

  • International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM): A global industry association that represents leading international mining and metals companies who are required to implement the ICMM 10 Principles, including Principle 9 on social contribution
  • Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC): Represents the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration and development industry. We incorporated PDAC’s Environmental Excellence in Exploration framework into the development of our HSEC Management Standards and into the Social Management and Responsibility at Teck (SMART) Exploration Tool
  • Mining Association of Canada (MAC): Promotes the development of Canada's mining and mineral processing industry. Through MAC, we are required to implement the Towards Sustainable Mining program, including the Aboriginal and Community Outreach protocol, which aids in improving industry performance
  • United Nations Global Compact (UNGC): Provides a framework for businesses committed to aligning their operations and strategies with 10 principles spanning human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption

We recognize and respect the rights of communities by managing our social and environmental impacts. We also work to engage communities and continuously demonstrate our ability to manage our impacts while providing mutually defined benefits. We call Teck’s work in this area “social management and responsibility”.

Teck’s SMART Framework is our approach to improving our social performance across Teck’s sites while also recognizing the unique context and circumstances of each region. We focus on four core social management areas that are essential for establishing and maintaining strong positive relationships:

  • Engagement: Engaging with people on what matters to them while identifying opportunities to maximize their input into decision-making.
  • Impacts: Working to mitigate or minimize the negative impacts of our mining activity.
  • Feedback and Incidents: Systematically addressing and learning from feedback received and incidents that occur.
  • Benefits: Identifying opportunities to maximize the positive benefits of our mining activity.

Figure 1: SMART Framework

Teck staff at all operations and exploration sites undertake frequent and, at times, significant engagement activities with communities to bring their interests and concerns to light. These activities include regular disclosure about site activities, direct consultation on new developments or significant changes in mining activities, and the creation of formal processes with community members to address issues in an ongoing and cooperative way.

We have Community teams at each of our operations who are focused on using the SMART Framework to build and strengthen trust-based relationships with local communities and stakeholders. At our exploration and development projects, exploration geologists and project managers are responsible for implementing the SMART Framework with local communities through all stages of their activities. Teck’s corporate Community team provides site support and guidance to sites on implementing the SMART Framework and reviews their annual performance.

All Community team members are provided the training and skills necessary to fulfill their responsibility in connection to the SMART Framework.

Social Risk Assessments

As part of our regular risk processes, we conduct assessments for a range of social risks. Social risk assessments identify potential and actual risks and opportunities that companies and communities can pose on one another. Our operations complete risk registers, which take into account considerations of communities. They include analysis of the risk of potential regulatory delay due to social risk and evaluate our performance to date on sharing benefits with stakeholders relevant to our operations. These can include the assessment of risks relating to:

  • Lost opportunity to hire locally (women/Indigenous Peoples)
  • Erosion of community trust, due to increased environmental incidents
  • Community rights around water, land and biodiversity
  • Indigenous rights and permitting delays

Teck also provides direct feedback mechanisms at every operation, project and exploration region to specifically ensure that those who want to provide feedback — whether it’s a comment, question, concern, complaint or compliment — are able to do so easily and, if they wish, anonymously.

We investigate all grievance-type feedback to determine the cause and to implement appropriate improvement actions, and communicate this information in a timely manner back to the complainant. Corporate guidance, tools and expertise support the process of developing and implementing a feedback mechanism at each operation in a manner that is appropriate to the scale of our activity.

These mechanisms may include dedicated phone lines and in-person or online platforms. Feedback items that are received are recorded using a database system called TrackLine and categorized by topic and severity. Higher-level feedback items are regarded as “significant grievances”, recognizing that they are often specific issues of concern to community members that require a response and potential further action from the company.

Through annual opinion surveys, community stakeholders are contacted by site Community teams to provide feedback on Teck’s approach to social management. This information is used as a check on our activities to continuously improve our social management activities while continuing to adapt to our most significant social risks. These management areas are continually adapted through the regular assessment of our social risks based upon our area of impact, the stakeholders we impact or who can influence us, and the social context in which we operate.

Local Hiring and Procurement

Local hiring is a priority at Teck operations. Sourcing local goods and services and hiring people locally helps gain community support for our activities, enhances our local knowledge, builds capacity, and mitigates business and social risks.

Whenever possible, our sites also utilize local suppliers, providing that they meet our health, safety, environmental and social requirements, and provide cost-competitive goods and services. Defining who is ‘local’ at an operation is a subjective matter and there is no established industry norm. For Teck, if a person asserts that their primary residence is within the direct area of influence at the time they apply to work at our operations, then the applicant is considered local. To ensure that local hires have the skills necessary for advancement, sites support access to relevant training opportunities at or near Teck’s sites.

Commitments regarding procurement and hiring practices are also often included in agreements between Teck and Indigenous communities.

Approach to Community Investment

Community investment is a key pillar of our company’s overall commitment to communities where we live and work. We contribute to community organizations to help build strong relationships and create lasting mutual benefits. Through community investment, we support local development priorities.

Our community investment program is guided by best practices from the International Finance Corporation. We aim to contribute at least 1% of our pre-tax earnings on a five-year rolling average basis to community investment; in any given year, we may contribute further. With our target tied to earnings, our success as a company directly impacts our ability to invest in the communities where we operate.

Our approach to community investment is based on the knowledge we gain through the following activities:

  • Collecting social baseline information and understanding our area of influence
  • Mapping, prioritizing and directly engaging with stakeholders
  • Understanding the needs of particular communities
  • Identifying potential risks and opportunities
  • Developing a strategic engagement plan linked to social risks in order to effectively engage with stakeholders
  • Assessing and incorporating engagement and social baseline information into our community investment plan

Our internal community investment policy guides how we align business drivers with community priorities, and guides our approach to providing long-term community benefits.

Table 1: Relationships with Communities External Audits

Type Organization Items Audited
External Mining Association of Canada: Towards Sustainable Mining audit

Community of Interest (COI) identification

Effective COI engagement and dialogue

COI response mechanism


External International Council on Mining and Metals: Sustainability Report assurance

Total number of significant disputes relating to land use and the customary rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples

Principle 3: Respect human rights and the interests, cultures, customs and values of employees and communities affected by our activities

Principle 9: Pursue continual improvement in social performance and contribute to the social, economic and institutional development of host countries and communities

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

What Was Our Performance in Relationships with Communities in 2017?

Engagement on Actual or Potential Impacts

Guided by our HSEC Management Standards and our SMART framework, we require all 12 (100%) of our operations, all four (100%) of our major projects, and all of our exploration activities to engage and consult with stakeholders and communities to address current and emerging issues and to maximize opportunities that provide strategic value for both Teck and those communities. In addition, we conduct more significant community consultation processes, including with Indigenous communities, as part of permitting processes for major projects. We demonstrate our performance in community consultation and engagement by reporting on impact management, general feedback received, grievances and disputes.

Activities across the mining life cycle may result in a range of social, economic and environmental impacts, both positive and negative. Examples of specific impacts experienced at our operations in 2017, and major engagements undertaken, are discussed in Table 10.

Table 10: Selected Major Engagement Activities in 2017

Actual or Potential Impacts on Communities from Our Activities


Major Engagement Activities

Environmental/Socio-Economic: impacts on livelihoods and community well-being related to dust from mining activities

Carmen de Andacollo Operations

We engaged with El Toro and other Andacollo community organizations due to their concerns related to our blasting procedures and the timeliness of our responsiveness to their complaints. We will continue to undertake improvements to manage both actual and perceived impacts associated with dust from blasting. A priority for 2018 is enhancing the notification system and communications related to our blasting practices.

Community: concerns about company response to environmental and social feedback as well as distribution of community benefits

We formalized working tables with municipal and community leaders, which will represent significant engagement opportunities to identify issues with local impacts and support investment in community priorities in 2018.

Socio-Economic: impacts on livelihood as a result of the sale of the Waneta Dam to BC Hydro

Trail Operations

We undertook extensive engagement with community members and local government leading up to, and following the agreement, to sell the asset and transition to a lease agreement.

Environmental: impacts associated with historical lead in local environment

We engaged the Trail Health and Environment Committee on ongoing management strategies to address lead exposure in children and to support provincial strategies for remediation in the region.

Environmental: impacts associated with natural events and impacts on water and air

Highland Valley Copper Operations

We collaborated with local communities, agencies and Indigenous groups to mitigate impacts from flooding and wildfires in the region, and to support relief efforts.

Community: impacts of activities as related to subsistence resources, traditional land use and community health

Red Dog Operations

We advanced engagement through the Memorandum of Agreement with the community of Kivalina through the Siñgamiut Working Group to set strategies related to community health, promotion of traditional land use, and subsistence activities.

We continued to work with the Subsistence Committee to review all subsistence-related issues and guide subsistence protection activities at the mine.

Socio-Economic: impacts associated with shortfalls in local taxation and community benefits to the region

We established an agreement with the Northwest Arctic Borough to establish a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) and a new Village Improvement Fund for 11 identified villages in support of local development.

We continued to undertake direct visits to communities within the region to address local concerns, advance local hiring initiatives and identify community investment opportunities.

Socio-Economic/Environmental: impacts associated with potential new project development in the region

Cardinal River Operations

We undertook extensive engagement with First Nations, communities and regulators related to the MacKenzie Redcap exploration program in order to establish impact benefit agreements with First Nations in the region.

Environmental/Socio-Economic: impacts on livelihoods and community well-being related to dust from mining activities


Elkview Operations

We responded to community-related dust concerns, (including perceived impacts on health and property) and educated residents on current dust management strategies being undertaken on-site. This engagement will continue on an ongoing basis.

We undertook a year-long engagement with the District of Sparwood to draft a Socio-Community Economic Effects Management Plan as part of the Baldy Ridge Extension project, establishing a shared process for adaptive management of community environmental impacts and targeting opportunities to improve community livability.

Environmental/Socio-Economic: impacts associated with expanding operations at Quebrada Blanca

Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 Project

We undertook extensive engagement with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities following our regulatory submission for Quebrada Blanca Phase 2, with the objective of establishing agreements with critical communities in support of final project approval.

Environmental: impacts on the environment

Frontier Project

We advanced Teck’s proposals to further protect biodiversity and improve wildlife management in the Lower Athabasca region, which includes engagement with the Mikisew Cree First Nation in their efforts to establish a Biodiversity Stewardship Area in the region.

Teck’s SMART Framework

In 2017, we launched an update to Teck’s SMART framework that placed increased emphasis on the integration of key social management activities across Teck’s sites. This framework continues to be supported by guidance and toolkits to support consistency and quality of key social practices at sites. In 2017, improvements included updates to negative feedback management guidance, community incident reporting guidance, community investment (benefits management) policies and guidance, and frameworks to support social aspects of closure planning.

Measuring Our Relationships with Communities

In 2017, Teck launched an annual company-wide opinion research program for communities near our operations. The quantitative data obtained during the first survey provides a baseline to measure and help guide improvements to our performance, assess the impact of events, inform our five-year planning process and support our reporting. The survey was conducted by an independent polling company.

Feedback, Grievances, Disputes and Incidents

Having a feedback mechanism that is widely accessible to community members, and providing effective remedies through this mechanism, is an important way for us to understand our impacts on communities, which in turn allows us to work to minimize negative impacts and maximize positive impacts. All of Teck’s operations and major projects and most exploration projects have implemented feedback mechanisms. Feedback received is recorded using our TrackLine system and categorized into four levels:

  • Feedback/donation request

  • Question or concern

  • Issue, concern or grievance

  • Repeated and ongoing concern, or an issue, concern or grievance that is major in nature and may include a breach of law or company policy

Level 3 and 4 feedback items are referred to as negative feedback or “grievances”, recognizing that they are often specific issues of concern to community members that require a response and potential further action from the company.


In 2017, we received 906 instances of feedback through direct feedback mechanisms established across our sites, compared to 1,006 in 2016.

Figure 10: 2017 Feedback Received by Category(1)

Feedback levels will vary from year to year for several reasons, including the level of permitting or project activity, which tends to increase the amount of feedback, and community use of feedback mechanisms. As efforts increase by our sites to improve the extent to which feedback mechanisms are used, we may see an increase in the amount of feedback received.


In 2017, of the total feedback received, 147 items were considered grievances. Grievances are reflective of perceived or actual events taking place as a result of company activities, and therefore do not necessarily constitute an actual negative impact or non-conformance event by the company. Teck’s practice is that all feedback, which includes grievances, is acknowledged and assessed, and a response is communicated to the complainant, with the goal of providing a satisfactory reply or resolution in a timely manner.

Figure 11: 2017 Grievances Received by Category(1)


Disputes represent conflicts between the company and the impacted community related to land use and the customary rights of local communities and Indigenous Peoples. One example of a dispute that Teck is engaged in is related to a lack of available land for housing near our Carmen de Andacollo Operations. In the past, this has been a source of conflict between Teck and the community. Teck is working with local and regional governments, and with housing associations, to understand obstacles and opportunities that are within Teck’s control, in an effort to assist in finding a collaborative solution.

Disputes are considered significant when they cannot be resolved jointly within a reasonable time frame, are repeated or widespread, or represent potentially significant or long-term financial, legal or reputational consequences for the company. In 2017, none of Teck’s sites experienced significant disputes.

Community Incidents

An incident is an occurrence where individuals or groups may cite real or perceived breaches of law or company policy, real or perceived impacts on human rights (particularly related to land use) or the customary rights of Indigenous Peoples, and/or real or perceived impacts resulting in death or serious illness. In the vast majority of cases, an incident is immediately managed and has no significant implications. We actively monitor, manage, investigate and learn from incidents, including those related to health and safety, communities and the environment. To ensure we are capturing and responding to all community concerns in addition to those raised through our usual feedback mechanisms, we established a new community incident reporting system across all operating sites in 2017.

All community incidents reported were assessed on a severity scale using multidisciplinary consequence criteria that are based on impacts both on Teck (financial, legal and reputational) and on communities (quality of life, Indigenous rights, and subsistence impacts). Such incidents may be subject to further investigation within Teck. In 2017, Teck had no significant community incidents (Level 4 severity or higher) reported; however, we have included two incidents categorized as moderate (Level 3 severity) below:

  • A resident of Kivalina near our Red Dog Operations was not notified in time that their on-site job interview had been cancelled and thus incurred significant travel costs. Following an investigation, procedural changes were made and a remedy was provided to the individual in line with the impact.

  • A First Nations partner near our Highland Valley Copper Operations reported that procurement processes defined under our impact benefit agreement with them had been breached. A number of changes were subsequently made to our procurement procedures to prevent reoccurrence.

Economic Value Generated and Distributed

We contribute to the wealth and prosperity of the countries, regions and communities where we operate by generating economic value that includes tax and royalty payments, local hiring and procurement, and community investments. We work to improve efficiency of our activities and reduce our operating costs to maximize economic value generated.

Table 11: 2017 Breakdown of Economic Value Generated and Distributed (millions)


Economic Value Generated

Economic Value Distributed

Economic Value Retained



Payment to Suppliers(2)

Employee Wages and Benefits(3)

Payments to Providers of Capital(4)

Income and Resource Taxes(5)

Community Investments(6)





Operating Costs 

Capital Expenditures 

Operating Costs 

Capital Expenditures 





























































Inter-segment elimination(1)






















(1) Revenues are presented based on an accrual basis. Internal cross-border sales are eliminated as shown.
(2) Operating costs include operating expenses at our mining and processing operations and our general and administration, exploration and research, and development expenses and costs relating to production stripping. Operating costs excludes depreciation, and employee wages and benefits, which are specified separately. Capital expenditures are payments for purchases of property, plant and equipment, excluding the component relating to capitalized wages and benefits, which is specified separately.
(3) Wages and Benefits reflects total amounts paid to employees relating to wages and benefits, including payroll taxes.
(4) Payments to providers of capital include dividends paid to shareholders, interest paid to debtholders, and payments for share repurchases less issuance of shares.
(5) Income and resource taxes include amounts paid in the year.
(6) Community investments include voluntary donations paid during the year.

In 2017, we had a profit attributable to shareholders of $2.5 billion or $4.34 per share. This compares with a profit attributable to shareholders of $1.0 billion or $1.80 per share in 2016, and a loss of $2.5 billion or $4.29 per share in 2015. See our Annual Report for more detailed information on our financial performance.

Local Hiring and Procurement

The tables below reflect our tracking of local employees and local procurement until the end of 2017. Increases and decreases in this data are influenced primarily by site-level construction and maintenance activity as well as by the availability of suitable suppliers in the local area.

We continue to focus on hiring people locally, as it helps to share the economic benefits of our industry with the communities in which we operate. Some of our sites utilize site-specific local hiring procedures. In 2017, we increased our overall average of local employees to 72% of our operational workforce, compared to 65% in 2016.

Table 12: Local Employment in 2017(1),(2)


Local Employees

Percentage of Local Employees

Senior Management Roles Filled by Locals(3)

Cardinal River




Carmen de Andacollo




Coal Mountain








Fording River








Highland Valley Copper




Line Creek




Pend Oreille




Quebrada Blanca




Red Dog




Trail Operations








1. Data is not directly comparable between operations, as there are differences in how each operation defines “local” and how each operation tracks data.
2. “Local” is defined as persons or groups of persons living and/or working in any areas that are economically, socially or environmentally impacted (positively or negatively) by an organization’s operations. The community can range from persons living adjacent to operations to isolated settlements at a distance from operations, but individuals are still likely to be affected by these operations.
3. Senior management is defined by their compensation band, which is determined by job responsibilities.


Table 13: Percentage of Total Spend with Local Suppliers






Cardinal River





Carmen de Andacollo





Steelmaking Coal Operations in the Elk Valley





Highland Valley Copper





Pend Oreille





Quebrada Blanca





Red Dog





Trail Operations










Community Investment

We continue to meet our target of donating at least 1% of our earnings before interest and taxes on a five-year rolling average basis. Our earnings before interest and taxes are calculated against total (100% of) revenues. Our community investment expenditures in 2017 were $13.2 million. Information on our community investment reporting framework is available on our website.

Table 14: Community Investment by Site(1),(2),(3),(4)






Carmen de Andacollo





Steelmaking Coal Operations(1)





Duck Pond





Highland Valley Copper





Pend Oreille





Quebrada Blanca





Red Dog(2)





Trail Operations





Corporate Offices and Projects(3)










(1) Steelmaking coal operations include Cardinal River, Coal Mountain, Elkview, Greenhills, Fording River and Line Creek operations.
(2) The 2014 Red Dog numbers were recalculated to include investments that Vancouver Head Office made in the Northwest Arctic Borough.
(3) Includes Calgary, Santiago, Spokane, Toronto and Vancouver offices as well as resource development projects (Frontier, Galore Creek, Quebrada Blanca 2 and Quintette).
(4) The numbers represent Teck’s portion of ownership (Carmen de Andacollo 90%, Quebrada Blanca 76.5%, Quebrada Blanca 2 76.5% and Galore Creek 50%).

Given that our community investment budget target is tied to earnings on a five-year rolling average, our target continued to decrease in 2017. However, to ensure continuity of programs at a community level, Teck chose to maintain 2017 community investment targets consistent with 2016 levels, thus exceeding the budget target for 2017.

Team Teck

Team Teck offers our employees the opportunity to amplify their donations to causes that they care about through donation matching from Teck. In 2017, employees across Teck supported several initiatives, such as disaster relief for the British Columbia wildfires and the major earthquake in Mexico, animal shelters, community food banks, and development charities working across the world, for a total of $97,000 provided by Teck in matching funding.

Outlook for Relationships with Communities

In 2018, we will continue to engage with communities at and near our sites and work towards maintaining or increasing community support for our activities. In particular, we will focus on engaging Indigenous Peoples and stakeholders as we advance our Frontier, Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 and NuevaUnión projects, and projects included under Project Satellite (Zafranal and San Nicolás). Using our redeveloped SMART framework, we will also continue to improve our social management approach by further implementing guidance and procedures for feedback management, updating our information management systems for tracking and reporting, and better integrating social incident reporting and management into existing systems. For community investment in 2018, we will be implementing a new framework for sites that better aligns program decisions with Teck’s SMART framework to improve the quality of program outcomes. Within our community investment program, we will also continue to advance our Zinc & Health and Copper & Health programs.


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