JANUARY 28, 2013
Murray River Project Temporary Foreign Workers Returning to China
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VANCOUVER, B.C. – HD Mining announced today that its 16 temporary foreign workers on the Murray River Project are returning to China. These workers would have undertaken underground preparatory work for the bulk sample phase of the project, which includes the extraction of a 100,000 tonne coal sample to determine the viability of full mine development and confirming that the coal is marketable.
"This was a difficult decision for us, but we are very concerned about the cost and disruption this litigation brought by the unions has caused to the planning of the project. We need reasonable certainty before initiating work on our underground bulk sample." said Jody Shimkus, Vice President, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs. "We have also decided to delay bringing any additional workers to Tumbler Ridge until we have reliable certainty."
HD Mining will continue with its worker housing development and with the environmental assessment process. It is also counting on federal and provincial regulators continuing to process environmental and mining related approvals in a timely manner.
"We are very committed to the community of Tumbler Ridge and we have shown our long-term interest by investing $15 million in housing and other local initiatives." said Penggui Yan, Chair of HD Mining. "But we need to be able to rely on the Canadian legal system – and receive fair treatment from governments – when planning and developing projects. In the absence of being able to find Canadians qualified and interested to do this work, we need to know we can rely on the two-year temporary foreign worker authorizations we received."
The original project schedule was based on approvals received from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada in April 2012 for the use of 201 workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. A delay in the project will have negative impacts on other work occurring in Tumbler Ridge, which provide jobs and other benefits to the community, such as the purchase of project-related goods and services.
"Even though we are disappointed with this development, we are encouraged by HD Mining’s ongoing commitment to the Murray River Project, including continuing construction of housing in Tumbler Ridge, environmental assessment and developing a training program for Canadians to work in long-wall mining" said Darwin Wren, Mayor of Tumbler Ridge. "We look forward to welcoming the workers back very soon, and to full development of this project."
HD Mining remains committed to the Murray River Project and will continue to vigorously contest this matter in court.