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The funds are earmarked to support critical social initiatives and increased healthcare capacity, including procuring one million KN95 masks to be donated for healthcare in British Columbia.
"The global health crisis posed by COVID-19 is unlike anything previously faced by companies, by families, and by communities. The scope and severity of this pandemic requires all of us to step up and do our part," said CEO Don Lindsay.
"Meeting an unprecedented challenge requires unprecedented unity, empathy and consideration for one another. Around the world we have seen those qualities on display in recent weeks, from small gestures of kindness and support from our neighbours to everyday citizens cheering each night in support of frontline healthcare workers."
The fund has already made substantial contributions to humanitarian relief efforts, including donating to a dedicated community investment fund supporting local organisations in areas where Teck operates directly involved with the COVID-19 response, or those directly experiencing impacts resulting from COVID-19.
A portion of the fund will be dedicated to support for Indigenous communities. Teck is also expediting payments to local and Indigenous suppliers to support their ongoing economic resilience.
The fund will support healthcare services in the Tarapaca and Coquimbo regions of Chile, including funding medical supplies, equipment, facilities and professionals at the Iquique hospital; family and primary health services in Pica, Pozo Almonte, and Chanavayita; and healthcare services in La Serena.
Teck is also making investments to spur the use of copper towards infection prevention initiatives through its Copper & Health programme, through which it collaborates with public agencies by making a further $1 million available to advance the use of copper products to support infection control and prevention at healthcare facilities.
Teck is providing $250,000 to the Canadian Red Cross towards supporting health services and public health in the battle against COVID-19, including the deployment of the Red Cross's Emergency Response Unit field hospital and the supply of medical equipment.
The fund further supports international relief efforts, including $500,000 to UNICEF, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation Solidarity Response Fund, to provide critical medical and sanitation supplies, equipment and training in 180 countries, and $250,000 to the China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation to support children in rural communities in China.
The initiative has also availed $250,000 to support the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation for targeted drug discovery into therapeutic solutions to the COVID-19 virus carried out at the Vancouver Prostate Centre.
Further donations through the fund will include procuring more supplies or PPE for healthcare and community use, contributions to global relief efforts, medical research, and long-term economic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic.
Teck came under fire earlier this month amid concerns workers could be at risk of contracting COVID-19 at its Kootenay coal operations in British Columbia. Canadian news outlet The Globe and Mail reported on a local resident writing a letter to Teck's management and its board on April 5, alleging the conditions inside the mine had "likely enabled the spread of COVID-19 among its employees and contractors, their families, and the community at large".
The company said the allegation was untrue, there had been no cases of infection at its sites, and the BC Health Authority had inspected its mines and was satisfied correct protocols were in place.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the company's operations. Earlier this month Teck said it would slow production at its Highland Valley copper mine by half and the company suspended its 2020 production guidance. Total production at its steelmaking coal and Highland Valley operations is expected to be reduced to 80-85% of normal levels.
It has also temporarily reduced the number of employees at its Trail, BC, operations by one-third, while production at its Red Dog mine in Alaska remains at planned levels.
Earlier this week, it suspended operations at the 22.5%-owned Antamina mine in Peru until at least April 26.
It had also suspended construction of the 29%-complete Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 project in Chile, where it reported a slight cost overrun. It expects the suspension would have a financial impact of between $75-$125 million and a schedule delay of up to eight weeks.
Company shares (TECK-B:TSX) have fallen by two-thirds in the past 12 months, mainly owing to its ill-fated Canadian oil sands exposure, where it recently cancelled a massive new development and production at the 21.3%-owned Fort Hills operation in Alberta had been reduced to a single production train.
Shares are trading at C$11.05, capitalising it at $6 billion (US$4.25 billion).