Coal mining company signs agreement on training of Canadian workers

The Canadian Press

VANCOUVER - The coal mining company at the centre of a controversy over hiring temporary foreign workers has signed a memorandum of understanding with a northern B.C. college to train Canadian workers.

HD Mining's Jody Shimkus says the agreement means the company will work with the college to develop a curriculum for training people in the long-wall underground mining technique to be used at the Murray River mine near Tumbler Ridge.

She says the mine will employ about 600 when it reaches full-capacity in the fall of 2015, and the company has a 10-year plan to transfer to a Canadian workforce.

Several unions have asked the Federal Court to conduct a judicial review of the temporary work permits, claiming the miners have been brought in for lower wages.

They want an injunction to stop the company from bringing in 60 workers slated to arrive in mid-December, until their case is resolved.

Shimkus says HD Mining has federal government approval to bring in miners for exploratory work at the mine, and those plans stand.