Galore Creek mine project in northwestern B.C. (Teck Resources photo)

Vancouver-based Teck Resources aims to be ‘carbon neutral’ by 2050

Firm behind Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta says it will avoid emissions production where possible

The Vancouver-based mining company proposing to build the massive Frontier oilsands mine in northeastern Alberta has set a target to be “carbon neutral” by 2050.

Teck Resources Ltd., which is awaiting a decision from the federal government on Frontier expected this month, says it will try to achieve its goal by first avoiding the production of emissions and then by minimizing or eliminating what it does produce.

It says it will look at alternative ways of moving materials at its mines, using cleaner power sources and implementing efficiency measures, while producing more metals including copper for electric vehicles and renewable power generation.

“Setting the objective to be carbon neutral by 2050 is an important step forward in our commitment to reducing emissions and taking action on climate change,” Teck CEO Don Lindsay said Monday in a news release.

“Climate change is a global challenge that our company and our industry need to contribute to solving.”

Lindsay wasn’t available for an interview.

At an investment conference last week in Banff, Lindsay said winning federal approval for the Frontier project doesn’t necessarily mean it will be built — the company will also need adequate pipeline access, the right commodity prices and a partner to share costs before proceeding.

He defended Teck’s environmental record at the event, noting money manager BlackRock Inc. is one of its top investors and it has the support of CEO Larry Fink, who wrote recently that “climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects.”

“We have carbon, no question about it. We have coal and we have oil,” Lindsay said in Banff.

“But the distinction is we have the good coal, not the bad coal. I talked to Larry Fink last week and BlackRock has made their announcements, but it’s about thermal coal. We have 99 per cent high-quality hard coking coal, steelmaking coal … that institution is one of our top five shareholders and they still are and they won’t be selling.”

Teck separately announced Monday it and its partners have signed a long-term power purchase agreement for their new copper mining project in Chile, which will result in about half of its operating needs being satisfied by renewable energy sources.

Teck’s ownership of 21.3 per cent of the Fort Hills oilsands mining project operated by Suncor Energy Inc., and its pursuit of the Frontier project makes its pledge hollow, said Greenpeace Canada campaigner Keith Stewart on Monday.

“If Teck is serious about this commitment, then they need to get out of the oil business,” he said in an email.

“You can’t promise to stop using internal combustion engines in your own operation as part of being zero-emissions, and then go out and invest $20 billion to build a new 260,000 barrels per day oilsands mine to put gas and diesel in other people’s vehicles for the next half-century.”

The Frontier mine north of Fort McMurray, Alta., is expected to produce about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year for more than 40 years.

READ MORE: B.C. and Alberta Indigenous leaders protest major Teck oilsands project

Dan Healing, The Canadian Press

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