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Teck CEO defends strategy at mining conference as investors launch criticism

Last Updated May 13, 2020 at 1:12 am MST

The corporate logo of Teck Resources Limited is shown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO

The CEO of Teck Resources Ltd. is defending his company’s investing strategies as dissident shareholders continue to criticize him for what they call “underperforming” investments in coal and oilsands.

Don Lindsay told investors on a mining conference webcast that the Vancouver-based miner is using revenue from its legacy metallurgical coal mines toward the construction of a US$5.2-billion copper mine expansion in Chile, part of its strategy to double down on copper production.

He says copper’s future is bright because of its use in electric vehicles, clean power plants and transmission lines, along with its antimicrobial properties that are attracting attention during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lindsay added the company is still considering options including selling its minority stake in the Fort Hills oilsands mine in northern Alberta if the value of the project is not reflected in its share price.

The address came as American investment firm Impala Asset Management released excerpts from a letter to Teck’s board criticizing the company’s financial performance in the 15 years Lindsay has been in charge. The charges are similar to those reportedly made by Tribeca Investment Partners earlier this month.

In an email, Teck spokesman Chris Stannell said shareholders voted 98 per cent in favour of retaining Lindsay and other board members recently. Teck is primarily controlled by the Keevil family through its dual-class shares system.

“Our strategy is very straightforward. Teck is implementing a copper growth strategy financed by the strong cash flows from steel-making coal and zinc,” said Lindsay.

“We are focused on rebalancing our portfolio to ultimately make our copper business bigger than our coal business, beginning with QB2 which will double our copper production on a consolidated basis.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 12, 2020.

Companies in this story: (TSX:TECK)

The Canadian Press