It has been an intense few weeks for Teck Resources, as Canada’s largest diversified mining company faces an existential fork in the road. With a takeover lurking in the wings, the company must now figure out how to transition out of its 20-million-tonnes-a-year coal business.
The proposed takeover of Vancouver-based Teck, a company recognized as a sustainability leader, by Swiss mining giant Glencore PLC, a company saddled with a history of human rights, bribery and environmental problems, has attracted the attention of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The government is looking at the deal “very, very carefully,” he told Bloomberg last week.
“We have high and stringent expectations, not just on environmental issues but on partnership with Indigenous Peoples,” he said. At stake in the takeover battle is control of Teck’s copper and other mineral operations that are critical for the global climate transition. Demand for copper, essential for electricity-based infrastructure such as wind turbines, solar panels and power grids, is expected to skyrocket in the shift away from fossil fuels.
But Teck’s board rebuffed Glencore’s US$23-billion merger offer and pledged to move forward with a previously announced plan to split the company into two separate entities, one focused on its critical mineral assets and the other on its steelmaking coal field in Elk Valley, B.C.
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