Chinese mining firm HD Mining face legal challenge Over Foreign workers

Chinese mining firm HD Mining face legal challenge Over Foreign workersHD Mining, a Chinese-owned mining firm behind a proposed underground coal project in northern British Columbia is facing  another union legal challenge over the use of temporary foreign workers.

It has been fending off controversy since it came to be known last year that it planned to use up to 201 temporary foreign workers from China at its Murray River project, near Tumbler Ridge, B. C.

The plan provoked federal politicians to suggest the permits shouldn't have been granted and led to a legal challenge from two unions, which eventually turned in the company's favour.

The United Steelworkers union is now asking the B. C. Supreme Court to revoke the company's mining exploration permit, stating that the province's chief inspector of mines was incorrect to award the permit without sufficiently addressing concerns that the workers would not be fluent in English.

A petition with the court was filed by the United Steelworkers earlier this week, assert documents obtained by the union suggest provincial officials were aware that allowing the mine to use workers who didn't speak English would pose a potential safety risk, but granted the permit anyway.

The document, filed on Dec. 16 says, "No part of that application addresses the ability of Mandarin-speaking workers, who have minimal facility of the English language, to work safely at the Murray River project." The court document, which contain untested allegations, names the provincial Ministry of Energy and Mines; the chief inspector of mines, which falls under the ministry; and HD Mining.