Mine closures deliver another hit to B.C.’s top export

Teck’s operations in Trail, far to the west of its Elk Valley mines.

Plus, B.C. leads the province’s in economic growth and a Vancouver consultancy gets to redesign America’s most hated airport

Fewer lumps of coal
Teck Resources plans to temporarily close its five B.C. coal mines in response weak demand in Asia and the plummeting price of steelmaking coal. The round of closures, to be sequenced over the summer, will cut production by 1.5 million tonnes, a fraction of the 25-million tonnes Teck expects to mine this year. Coking coal, a key ingredient in steel, accounts for 22 per cent of the province’s exports. Teck employs around 5,000 in the province. Coal mine closures over the past year have hit communities in the Peace region hard; Tumbler Ridge’s unemployment rate spiked to 70 per cent when both of its local mines suspended operations. Teck’s closures, however, won’t affect the company’s headcount (via Bloomberg). But Teck’s temporary measures might not be enough to stave off future closures, according to Lucia Pipes, an analyst at Brean Capital. “Ultimately we believe permanent closures are still required,” said Pipes in a research note.  

Some like it hot 
B.C. will lead the country in GDP growth this year, which, sadly, says more about the Canadian economy than B.C. Thanks in part to a hot resale housing market in Vancouver, as the Conference Board puts it, and its consequent boost to the finance and insurance sectors, the province’s economy will grow at 3 per cent in 2015.

“Some third-world airport”
Vantage Airport Group
, a consultancy and airport operator owned by Vancouver’s airport authority, has landed a $3.6-billion contract to lead the overhaul of New York‘s infamously dilapidated LaGuardia Airport. The plan is to demolish the airport’s central terminal—currently a messy web of carpet, concrete and security lines—and replace it with a “new world-class facility” à la Vancouver. Expect glass. Besides its consultancy business, Vantage operates airports in Chile, Cyprus and the Bahamas.