Court OKs Chinese miners at Canadian project

HD MINING applauded last week’s decision by a Canadian federal court to refuse to grant an injunction by two unions seeking to challenge the miner hiring 200 Chinese workers at its Murray River coal project in British Columbia.

Justin Niessner

“This judgement is a massive victory for HD Mining,” the company’s chair Penggui Yan said.

“We have been waiting for a court to say that we have done nothing wrong and this decision does exactly that. We hope it will cause the unions to seriously question why they are bringing these proceedings.”

The unions challenged HD on its application under Canada’s temporary foreign worker program, saying the miner discouraged Canadian applicants through the mention of Mandarin language usage in job advertisements.

Documents released by the court last week, however, reportedly included an application from HD Mining which cited Mandarin as a language requirement.

Canada’s Globe and Mail also cited the court documents on the safety concerns of a mixed-language underground working environment: “Lack of requirement for English for [foreign workers] in underground mining occupations raises some concerns regarding the employer’s ability to attract/train and transition to Canadian workers.

“The employer has stated that English-language training will be provided, that interpreters and English-speaking foremen will facilitate on-the-job training and transfer of skills to Canada. Still it is reasonable to question how successful the employer will be in attracting, training or retaining Canadians, while the language of mine operation is predominantly Mandarin.”

For HD, the court’s decision to refuse the unions’ challenge affirms there was no illegality in the language question.

“We feel we have been unfairly targeted by the unions and we must be able to rely on the government approval process”, Yan said.

“There are hundreds of thousands of foreign workers working under [the temporary foreign worker program] in Canada today and we do not understand why the unions would try and shut down our project. How would that provide jobs for anyone?”

HD said it undertook an extensive search for qualified Canadian workers for the project and that none of its applications required Mandarin language skills.

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