Teck Resources Ltd. faces allegations of putting thousands of British Columbia miners at risk of contracting COVID-19 and spreading the virus into the nearby communities by keeping open its massive coal operations.
Kelty Pelechytik, who lives near the company’s coal mines in the east Kootenay region of British Columbia, wrote a letter to Teck’s management and its board on April 5 alleging that conditions inside the mine have “likely enabled the spread of COVID-19 amongst its employees and contractors, their families, and the community at large.”
Citing testimonials from employees, she alleged that shortages of protective equipment, crowded commuter buses, packed site vehicles and “an absolute impossibility to self-distance because of the nature of the work,” are fostering an environment where the virus could spread.
Ms. Pelechytik said she had previously tried to raise these concerns with senior management at Teck, including chief executive Don Lindsay, but has been ignored. She likened the continued operation of the mines to a “game of Russian roulette,” with the community’s health.
“Your company’s refusal to act on these numerous warnings may now directly lead to hospitalizations or death for people who live here,” she wrote. Two people who work at Teck’s coal operations in B.C. substantiated the concerns expressed in the letter.
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