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Plan for B.C. mine leaves Canadian workers out for four years

HD Mining’s housing development under construction in Tumbler Ridge, B.C., on Dec. 11, 2012.

HD Mining

Court documents reveal that a company planning to bring 201 Chinese miners to a project in northern B.C. would be using temporary foreign workers in its transition plans for the next 14 years.

Two unions are in court challenging temporary foreign worker permits obtained by HD Mining for its Murray River underground coal mine near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

Documents tendered in the case include the company's previously unreleased transition plan outlining that it won't be hiring Canadian miners for more than four years.

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The plan says temporary foreign workers will be used for 30 months of construction and then for two more years as they set up a training school and start recruiting and training Canadians.

After that, the plan indicates it will take another decade to shift the work to Canadians at a rate of 10 per cent of the mine's workforce per year.

The company has already said it will take 10 years to transition work to Canadians, but it has not said it will take more than four years for that process to begin.

The International Union of Operating Engineers and the Construction and Specialized Workers Union are in Federal Court this week asking for an injunction to stop more foreign workers from arriving until the unions larger challenge against the permits is heard.

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