VANCOUVER —More than a dozen Chinese miners brought to Canada to help develop a new coal mine in northern B.C. are being sent back because the company says it has concerns about the Canadian legal system.
The 16 temporary workers at the Murray River project near the town of Tumbler Ridge have been in Canada since November after HD Mining International Ltd. of Vancouver received work permits to bring more than 200 workers to Canada.
But two B.C. unions filed suits in federal court over the permits, and after a series of legal setbacks after, the company announced Monday night that the workers already here will be returning to China.
“We are very concerned about the cost and disruption this litigation brought by the unions has caused to the planning of the project,” said Jody Shimkus, spokeswoman for HD Mining in a statement. “We need reasonable certainty.”
The workers were carrying out preliminary survey work and were to have undertaken what the company called underground preparatory work. That work includes extracting a 100,000-tonne coal sample to determine the viability of continue with developing the mine.
But Shimkus’s statement said additional workers will not be brought into the country.
Late last year the company thwarted an injunction attempt by the unions to prevent more workers from arriving in Canada while lawyers argued over whether the federal government acted properly in granting the work permits.
The company said it has invested $ 15 million in housing and other local initiatives for the mine project.
“We need to be able to rely on the Canadian legal system and receive fair treatments from governments when planning and developing projects,” the company said in its statement.