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Eye On Olympia

Wed., Jan. 7, 2009, 3:36 p.m.

Pend Oreille mine closure becomes official: layoff notice for 165 filed with state

Canadian mining company Teck Cominco has filed paperwork with Washington state, three weeks after announcing that it intended to temporarily close its Pend Oreille zinc mining and milling operations near Metaline Falls, has made it official.

The company's notice says it intends to lay off 165 workers, effective Feb. 16.

"This layoff is permanent," reads the layoff notice, filed with the state Employment Security Department. (I have pasted a copy of the notice in the extended version of this post.)

The company announced Dec. 15 that "due to reduced metal demand and the persistent weakness in zinc prices" it would temporarily shut its Pend Oreille operations. The closure followed a recent decision to reduce zinc refining at its Trail site in British Columbia, the company said.

The company says that in February, its operation "will move to a care and maintenance status" to keep the mine compliant with environmental and other permits and "in prime condition to return to production when market conditions improve." The workers will get severance pay and other benefits, the company said.

Teck had re-started the mine in 2004. According to the company, it has produced 170,000 tons of zinc.

The notice was filed by Teck Washington, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Teck Cominco Limited.


The Employment Security Department's Dislocated Worker Unit received a Notification of Layoff on January 6, 2009 from the following employer:
Company Name: Teck Cominco Washington Incorporated
Address: 1382 Pend Oreille Mine Road, Metaline Falls, WA 99153
Site of Closure or Layoff: Metaline Falls, Washington
Number of workers affected: 165
Effective Date: February 16, 2009
This Layoff is Permanent
The WARN Act was enacted on August 4, 1988, and became effective on February 4, 1989. It offers protection to workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings and covered mass layoffs. This notice must be provided to affected workers or their representatives (e.g., a labor union); to the State Dislocated Worker Unit, and to the appropriate unit of local government.
The State's Dislocated Worker Unit uses information from this notice to activate one of its rapid response responsibilities as mandated in the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). One of the primary purposes of rapid response's early intervention is to coordinate those things necessary for a smooth transition for workers.
If you have any questions, please respond to rapid response team member: Dennis Birge at (360) 438-4022 or

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