The value of copper in the modern age has increased as it establishes a role in both the energy and health industries. Teck’s Highland Valley Copper Operations (HVC) has been a great source for the material but with the current mine life extending only to 2028, proposals have been made to push the operations until 2040. The extension would provide an additional 1.95 million tonnes of copper while creating socioeconomic benefits for the surrounding First Nations communities. 

HVC is located 17 kilometres west of Logan Lake.  Approximately 1,300 jobs are generated annually by HVC, creating an estimate of $185 million in wages and benefits. The economy of areas surrounding HVC benefits from close to $137 million on local goods and services. The site also resulted in a $75 million contribution to municipal and provincial taxes.

Up to $800 million in total economic benefits are generated by the operation and it looks to extend from its 2028 end period.  

The site is currently in its Pre-Application phase of the B.C. Environmental Assessment (EA) process. Through the process, HVC is engaging with local communities and Indigenous Governments. 

“HVC respects that we are operating within the Nlaka’pamux Nation’s territory,” said Teck in its conversation with the Herald. “We value our partnership with the Lower Nicola Indian Band and will continue to work to achieve free, prior and informed consent for our activities in their territory.”

Teck hosted a Community Engagement Session at Shulus Hall on September 22-23. The mining company invited community members to learn more about the plans with HVC 2040. 

 The two day session included discussions on tailings storage facilities, water management, and reclamation. There was also a panel available on both days for Q&A and presentation on the EA overview. 

 “They’re further development is pending on community, so you have to listen,” said LNIB Elder Doreen Sterling. “I think right now is the time to listen.” 

 Sterling recalls a previous engagement experience with HVC when she participated in a tour which gave community members a chance to see the operations, ask questions, and ultimately learn more about what’s happening with the mines. 

 “I saw, up close, all of the things that were happening and had the opportunity to share some information. Most of it was about reclamation on the areas that they’ve finished using,” she recalled. 

 “We made comments and it seems like they are doing it and this event seems like another opportunity to take a look again and have a better understanding. I feel like they’re listening.” 

Attendees at the engagement event were given a free meal for each session and had the opportunity to enter in a prize draw. 

 “This week’s community engagement events are part of our ongoing work to update the Lower Nicola Indian Band (LNIB) on the status of HVC 2040 and receive feedback and input on the project,” said Teck.

 “The Project would allow HVC to continue to collaborate with Indigenous Governments and Organizations, including the Lower Nicola Indian Band, to deliver economic and social benefits, and advance reconciliation efforts.”