Teck Resources Ltd. has announced 1,000 job cuts and a lower dividend, the latest moves by the diversified mining company to corral expenses as depressed commodity prices weaken its financial health.
Vancouver-based Teck said late Tuesday that it will eliminate the jobs at its offices and operations worldwide through layoffs and attrition. "This will include a reduction in senior management positions and brings total labour force reductions over the past 18 months to approximately 2,000 positions," the company said.
In April, 2014, Teck disclosed the elimination of 600 jobs, or what was then 5 per cent of the firm's total work force.
Low commodity prices, especially for coal and copper, have tarnished the company's financial results.
Teck's semi-annual dividend rate will be cut to 5 cents a share in December. Earlier this year, the firm had already chopped the dividend rate to 15 cents from 45 cents a share in the payout to shareholders made once every six months.
Spending will be scaled back in 2016 by $650-million. That amount will be reached "through $350-million of capital spending reductions and deferrals, and $300-million of operating cost savings identified as part of the 2016 operating budget," the company said.
Teck's Coal Mountain expansion plans have been shelved. Mining for metallurgical coal at the existing operation, 30 kilometres from Sparwood in southeastern British Columbia, will be halted in the final quarter of 2017.
Teck currently produces steel-making metallurgical (or coking) coal at five mines in southeastern British Columbia and one in Alberta.
"We are implementing these additional measures to conserve capital, lower our operating costs and maintain financial flexibility in light of very difficult market conditions," Teck chief executive officer Don Lindsay said in a statement. "These steps build on our ongoing cost-reduction program."
Mr. Lindsay has been steadfast in his support for Teck's role in the $15-billion Fort Hills oil sands joint venture in northern Alberta, despite the hefty financing commitments.
The Fort Hills project is led by Calgary-based Suncor Energy Inc.
In an announcement in September, Suncor said it would hold a 50.8-per-cent stake in Fort Hills after picking up a portion of a stake held by France's Total SA, whose interest fell to 29.2 per cent. Teck owns 20 per cent of the venture, located roughly 90 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.