HD Mining Welcomes Federal Court Decision Dismissing Union Litigation


The Federal Court of Canada has today rejected an attempt by two labour unions to overturn federal decisions that authorized temporary use of 201 foreign workers at HD Mining’s Murray River Project.


“This is a complete vindication of our company, but it has come at a great cost and raised significant questions in the international investment community.”


“During these months of litigation, the unions made many allegations - both in court and the media - which we frankly found appalling.” said Mr. Yan.  “We knew this litigation was driven by a political agenda and we knew we needed to wait for a Canadian Court to reject these claims.  It has taken a long time, but today is that day.”

In reaching his decision, Justice Zinn rejected the unions’ arguments that HD Mining did not make sufficient efforts to recruit Canadians. He stated, “There is nothing on the record that establishes that [Officer McLean] was wrong in his assessment that sufficient efforts had been made to recruit Canadians, either when he made that assessment or in hindsight.” (Para. 137)


Justice Zinn rejected the Unions arguments that HD Mining had placed undue requirements for low skilled positions. He said, “There is simply no merit to the Applicants’ argument that the job requirements for the lower skilled positions were ‘excessive.’”


The Court also rejected the unions’ arguments that HD Mining was planning to pay inappropriately low wages. Justice Zinn stated, “Based on the information that was “before [him],” the WiC website information, there can be no dispute that his decision on the prevailing wage rate was reasonable – the wages offered by HD Mining exceeded the prevailing wage rate indicated on that website.” (Para. 134)


On the unions allegation that supervisors had inappropriately influenced the officer’s decision, Justice Zinn described the unions arguments as “shocking” (Para. 107) and said ...” the record simply does not support that Officer MacLean fettered his discretion in any of the ways that have been alleged (Para. 99). He added, “The Applicants’ submissions are based on mere speculation and conjecture.” (Para. 108)


On the unions’ allegations alleged that HD Mining had misled regulators about its proposed mining operations, Justice Zinn again came down against the unions and in favour of HD Mining, stating, “… there is no evidence before the Court on which a finding could be made that HD Mining made any misrepresentation as to the type of mining that it would be doing at the Murray River Project.”(Para. 89)


Finally, the Court noted that further progress may be required on HD Mining’s plan to transition underground mining jobs to Canadian workers if any temporary foreign workers are to be used beyond the initial two-year bulk sample phase (Para. 140). This is precisely what HD Mining has been publicly stating it is prepared to do.


“We look forward to putting this litigation behind us and moving forward with our project. It will provide very significant benefits to Canadian workers and contractors, the community of Tumbler Ridge, and the province as a whole,” said Mr. Yan.


About the Murray River Project


The Murray River Project is a proposed underground coal mine located 12.5 km southeast of Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia Canada. Subject to environmental certification, at full production the Murray River Project would have an estimated annual production of six million tonnes of metallurgical (steelmaking) coal over 30 years. The estimated capital cost of the Murray River Project is $300 million, and it would create approximately $90 million of revenue for government annually; $2.7 billion over the life of the project. Once operating, the Murray River Project would create approximately 600 direct and 700 indirect jobs. HD Mining has invested over $50 million to-date in the Murray River Project.


HD Mining has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Northern Lights College to develop a training curriculum for long-wall mining. As part of the MOU, Northern Lights College and HD Mining will develop a relevant curriculum and simulation models, and identify partners for program infrastructure. Northern Lights College and HD Mining will work with key community partners in the development and delivery of the training. As a Canadian employer, HD Mining is working to transition long-wall mining skills and jobs to Canadian workers.