Teck Resources pushing Elk Valley operations through COVID-19 pandemic
Published Monday, March 23, 2020 7:23PM MDT
The mayor of the District of Sparwood said there are around 350 employees coming into the area from cities with confirmed cases of COVID-19 such as Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton.
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis that is sweeping through the country, some companies are shuttering operations, but people within the District of Sparwood are fearful, since one company is not taking the precautions they feel is fit to stop the virus outbreak.
"Teck (Resources Ltd.) and the amount of employees that they have and a lot of employees are transient in nature where they are coming in and out every four days," said David Wilkes, mayor of the District of Sparwood.
The District of Sparwood has yet to claim a COVID-19 case. Wilkes said the community is taking all the precautions it can to reduce the risk of the virus.
The district would like to see the area’s largest employer step up and help protect the community by reducing exposure from mine workers travelling in and out of the area..
"Review their policies with regards to the work camp in Elkford and the expansion of the plant in the elk view pit," said Wilkes.
Wilkes estimated there are around 350 employees coming into the area for work from centres with confirmed cases of COVID-19 such as Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Teck Resources also has contractors working at several coal mines in the Elk Valley area.
Neighbouring communities like Fernie and Elkford, B.C., are also asking Teck to step up to help protect the East Kootenay.
The company said it is implementing further measures, including slowing down operations and reducing crews by up to 50 per cent at the Elk Valley operation and other mining operations across Alberta and B.C. for an initial period of approximately two weeks.
They also said the situation will be reevaluated after that time.