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Coronavirus: What’s happening in Canada and around the world Wednesday – CBC

More than 100 COVID-19 related deaths in Canada; Spain tops 100,000 cases

Apr 01, 2020

A new month means a fresh set of bills for Canadian families and businesses struggling with the health and financial fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, as officials warn that the emergency and public health measures will likely be in place for some time to come.

With case numbers rising, several provinces have made moves to extend orders aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by a novel coronavirus that emerged in China and has since spread around the world.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix on Tuesday told people in his province there is “zero chance — none” that orders meant to tackle COVID-19 would be varied by the end of this month.

Read More: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/coronavirus-covid19-april1-canada-world-1.5516328

COVID-19 and Indigenous Communities: Family Conversations – CFN

March 30, 2020

A longer version of this article was originally published on the Yellowhead Institute website on March 16, 2020.

Dr. Alika Lafontaine is an Oji-Cree-Poly award-winning physician, past-President of the Indigenous Physicians Association of Canada and the first Indigenous physician included in Canada’s 50 Most Powerful Doctors. In this brief, he shares advice he gave to his family on how to respond to COVID-19.

Protecting Elders

When talking about containment of COVID-19 we’re talking about containment for the sake of our Elders and those with chronic medical conditions. It’s really tempting to focus on the risks from COVID-19 that apply to ourselves. But it has become clear (for now at least) that most patients less than 50 years old and who are otherwise healthy are unlikely to develop serious sickness.

Read More: https://coastalfirstnations.ca/covid-19-and-indigenous-communities-family-conversations/

Front line workers on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside sound the alarm over COVID-19 – APTN News

March 31, 2020

The people who work the front lines on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are sound the alarm over how the novel corona virus is being managed on the streets.

Some say there’s a potential catastrophe brewing for people with addictions and the ongoing spread of COVID-19.

Read More: https://aptnnews.ca/2020/03/31/front-line-workers-on-vancouvers-downtown-eastside-sound-the-alarm-over-covid-19/

Notice: Cancellation of May UBCIC Chiefs Council Meeting

Dear UBCIC Chiefs Council,

Attached and below, please find correspondence from the UBCIC Executive notifying you that the scheduled May 20-21 UBCIC Chiefs Council meeting has been cancelled due to COVID-19.  This notice is being sent via email only, and will be posted on our website.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.  We encourage you to visit the FNHA website for up to date information regarding COVID-19: https://www.fnha.ca/what-we-do/communicable-disease-control/coronavirus, and the FNLC website for general information and FNLC notices regarding COVID-19: www.fnlc.ca.

Take good care,

Andrea Glickman
Policy Director

Click here for the link

NT5

COVID-19 – Smoking and Vaping: What’s the Risk? – FNHA

Mar 31, 2020

Frequently Asked Questions:
Do people who smoke have a higher chance of developing severe complications if they become infected with COVID-19?

⦁ Yes. People who smoke, especially those who have respiratory, cardiovascular or other conditions caused by smoking, seem to be at higher risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19 infection, requiring ICU admission, and/or requiring mechanical ventilation.
⦁ As smoking adversely affects the immune system, it decreases the body’s natural ability to heal from infections and increases the risk of lower respiratory tract infection, including COVID-19.

Is there a link between vaping and COVID-19?

⦁ Vaping can cause lung damage as well as other respiratory health problems, and may put you at higher risk for developing severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Read More: https://www.fnha.ca/about/news-and-events/news/covid-19-smoking-and-vaping-whats-the-risk

TNG: March 31, 2020 – COVID-19 Update #9

March 31, 2020

Our continued response COVID-19:

TNG remains committed to keeping our employees and the communities we serve safe.

Therefore, we are sharing the following information.

Confirmed Cases:

As of March 31, 2020, there are no confirmed cases in Williams Lake or the Tŝilhqot’in communities. However, Interior Health reported a confirmed case at the Subway restaurant in Cache Creek. People who visited the Subway restaurant from March 25-27 are being asked to self-isolate. For more information, please refer to the press release issued by Interior Health:

https://bit.ly/2yp23Zr

Total new cases: 43

Total cases in BC: 1,013

Total cases in Interior Health region: 107

Total cases in Northern Health region: 15

Total recoveries: 507

Total deaths: 24

Declared State of Emergency:

Today, TNG declared a State of Emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. We are taking this precaution to protect elders and other members from the spread of COVID-19.

As part of the emergency response, the Tŝilhqot’in Nation has closed access to all six Tŝilhqot’in communities to visitors: Tl’etinqox (Anaham), Yuneŝit’in, Tŝideldel, Tl’esqox (Toosey), ʔEsdilagh and Xeni Gwet’in (Nemiah Valley). These communities are closed to all visitors except caregivers, medical and emergency personnel and essential services.

Please check in with each community as they each have their own specific exemptions and restrictions regarding the closure.

Please note that TNG’s order closing the Tŝilhqot’in communities to visitors is NOT a closure of Highway 20. Highway 20 remains open.

To view the media release that was sent out this morning regarding the State of Emergency and community access closure please visit our website at http://www.tsilhqotin.ca/News-Media/Media-Releases.

BC Premier John Horgan Address:

BC Premier John Horgan will make a televised public address at 6:15 pm tonight on the current COVID-19 situation in the province.

TNG is here for you:

TNG remains operational, a source of information and a point of contact for communities. If you have questions or concerns please reach out to our staff via telephone or email.

TNG office telephone numbers:

TNG Downtown Office: (250) 392-3918
TNG Lakeside Office: (250) 267-3270
TNG Health Office: (250) 398-8575
TNG Language & Radio Office: (778)-412-1112

Resources to stay up-to-date include:

Tŝilhqot’in National Government – Emergency Page

Government of Canada – Public Health

Government of BC – Health Link BC

First Nations Health Authority

World Health Organization

NT5

Teck Announces Q1 2020 Update

Vancouver, B.C. – Teck Resources Limited (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK) (“Teck”) today provided an update on Q1 2020 operations, preventative measures taken with respect to COVID-19 and updated its 2020 annual guidance.

“Notwithstanding the challenges in the month of March related to COVID-19, all of our operations remain in production and our steelmaking coal results significantly exceeded guidance,” said Don Lindsay, President and CEO. “We remain focused on ensuring we have the necessary measures in place to safeguard the health and safety of our people and communities, while maintaining safe operations.”

Q1 2020 Operations Update
Following a difficult start to the year, results in our Steelmaking Coal Business Unit improved significantly in late February and March. First quarter steelmaking coal sales are estimated at 5.6 million tonnes, exceeding our guidance of 4.8 to 5.2 million tonnes. At the same time, based on preliminary results we expect to report adjusted site cost of sales of approximately $65 per tonne, well below previous expectations.

Finished coal inventories at our mine sites were reduced during the quarter, supporting sales and increasing operational flexibility.

In spite of a difficult start to the year, our steelmaking coal logistics supply chain performed well for the remainder of the quarter, with both CP and CN recovering from early weather-related disruptions and blockades. All three ports also performed well, in particular Westshore Terminals, which had a strong March.

Our Neptune facility upgrade continues to advance and major equipment deliveries are on track. We expect the new shiploader, stacker/reclaimer, and single dumper replacement to be commissioned around year-end. Completion of construction is still expected in Q1 2021, with the new double dumper expected to be commissioned in Q2 2021. The shutdown at our Elkview Operations to complete the plant expansion is also progressing well and we expect completion in mid-April. The Elkview plant is being expanded from a capacity of 7 million tonnes to 9 million tonnes, which will enable us to replace higher cost production from our Cardinal River Mine, which produced 1.4 million tonnes in 2019, with lower cost production from Elkview when Cardinal River closes later this year. Taking into account both the cost savings and the higher average pricing for Elkview coal, assuming US$150 benchmark coal pricing and current exchange rates, this should translate to an annual $110 million increase in EBITDA.

The ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have the potential to affect both cost and schedule for these projects, and although impacts to date have not been material, we continue to monitor progress closely given the level of uncertainty.

As previously announced, construction at our Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) project was temporarily suspended on March 18. All non-essential employees have been safely demobilized. At this time, construction remains suspended.

COVID-19 Response
Teck has implemented extensive preventative measures across all offices and operations in order to safeguard the health of our employees and local communities, while continuing to operate safely and responsibly maintain employment and economic activity. These measures include enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols, eliminating group meetings, reducing occupancy on crew buses, screening contractors and visitors, promoting preventative measures like hand washing, requiring employees returning from international travel or showing symptoms to self-isolate, and implementing remote work where possible.

As part of our focus on ensuring the health and safety of our employees and communities, we have also implemented a temporary slowdown of operations and reduction of crews by up to 50% of regular levels at our steelmaking coal and Highland Valley Copper operations. These measures commenced on March 25 and will be in place for an initial two week period, after which we will re-evaluate in light of the evolving situation. All employees available for work will continue to be paid as normal during the initial two-week period.

COVID-19 Production Impacts
Impacts from COVID-19 will vary by operation, but production will continue at sites on a reduced basis.

While the reductions at our steelmaking coal operations will vary by mine, total production is expected to be reduced on average to approximately 80% to 85% of normal levels during the initial two week period. During this period historically high mine site clean coal inventories are expected to be drawn down to support sales. At Highland Valley Copper, crew reductions are expected to reduce production to 80% to 85% of normal levels for the initial two week period.

At our Trail Operations we have temporarily reduced the number of employees on site by one third while continuing to operate at planned production levels. At Red Dog, production remains at planned levels despite the significant travel restrictions and modified schedules required to maintain safe operations due to the fly-in fly-out nature of the operation. In Peru, our Antamina mine continues to operate at full production levels with less than half of the normal workforce. At Carmen de Andacollo in Chile, full production has also been maintained to date with reduced workforce levels.

At our QB2 project, after the initial two-week suspension, project construction activities remain on hold. It is not currently possible to predict when construction activities will be re-started. For more information on the current status of QB2 please refer to our press release titled “Teck Announces Updated QB2 Capital Estimate” issued March 31, 2020.

We are continuing to work with our unions and affected communities and are following the guidance of government and public health authorities, and will adapt our response as necessary as this situation continues to evolve.

2020 Guidance
We have outlined above the immediate impact of these measures on expected production levels at our operations. We are still assessing longer term response actions, and our ability to maintain operations at current levels, or potentially to increase staffing levels and production. COVID-19 has the potential to affect both our customers and certain of our suppliers, and we are closely monitoring potential impacts on demand for our products, as well as our supply chain. Our operating plans will depend in part on regulatory restrictions that may affect our business, as well as the progress of the pandemic generally, and the extent of additional measures, if any, required to protect the health and safety of employees. The actual degree and duration of production slowdowns and/or staff reductions and related costs is unknown at this time. Given the high degree of uncertainty associated with the current COVID-19 situation we are suspending our 2020 guidance. We will provide a further update when we report our Q1 2020 financial results.

Teck Media Contact:
Chris Stannell
Public Relations Manager
604.699.4368
chris.stannell@teck.com

Teck Investor Contact:
Fraser Phillips
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Strategic Analysis
604.699.4621
fraser.phillips@teck.com

NT4

Local First Nations pro-active in dealing with COVID-19 – Westerly News

“We are in it for the long haul.”

Apr. 1, 2020

As of March 31, the Island Health region had 67 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the total number of cases in B.C. has climbed to 1,013.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has not singled out any cases in Indigenous communities in her daily reporting.

Due to privacy considerations results will not be communicated, notes a statement from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA).

The Ministry of Health, FNHA, Emergency Management B.C. and Indigenous Services Canada are working together to identify needs and gaps to ensure Indigenous communities are well-supported in managing any outbreaks that may occur.

Read More: https://www.westerlynews.ca/news/local-first-nations-pro-active-in-dealing-with-covid-19/

Teck Announces Updated QB2 Capital Estimate

Vancouver, B.C. – Teck Resources Limited (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK) (“Teck”) today announced an update to its capital estimate for the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (“QB2”) project.

At sanction in December 2018, the estimated escalated capital cost of the project was US$5.2 billion¹.  The updated estimate remains at US$5.2 billion², and the go forward funding requirement from April 1, 2020 is estimated at US$ $3.9 billion³, assuming a CLP/USD rate of 775 over the remainder of the project. After project financing and partner contributions, Teck’s remaining required cash contribution toward project capital is estimated at US$880 million.

The revised estimate is based on a schedule that contemplates first production by Q2 2022, and includes a contingency of US$400 million. At the current spot exchange rate there would be an additional benefit of approximately US$240 million⁴ for the project. The estimate and schedule do not reflect the impact of the temporary suspension of project construction activities announced on March 18, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Further information on the potential impact of the suspension is provided below.

Considerable progress has been made across all areas of the project, and many of the highest risk activities are either completed or well-advanced. At suspension on March 18, 2020 overall progress on the project had reached 29%. The new capital estimate is based on a detailed review of all aspects of the QB2 project. Cost pressures have been largely offset by the depreciation of the Chilean peso.

“This has been a difficult period for the Chilean people as they undertake efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has also impacted our people and project,” said Don Lindsay, President and CEO of Teck. “Our current focus is the health and safety of the reduced workforce remaining on the project required to maintain the facilities, and on being prepared for a rapid restart of construction activities when it is safe to do so.”

Although construction was proceeding materially in accordance with the planned construction program until the recent suspension, several external factors have extended the project schedule by approximately four months and have contributed to increasing costs. These factors include construction delays resulting from social unrest and delays in receiving certain permits and other regulatory approvals required for construction. Before the benefit of the weaker Chilean peso, these delays account for about half of the increase in costs. The other half of the cost increases can be attributed primarily to certain additional costs for safety and environmental management, additional road construction and maintenance costs, severe weather impacts, and below plan contractor performance during mobilization and ramp up.

Notes:

  1. US$4.739 billion in constant Q2 2017 dollars plus estimated escalation of US$425 million (a range of US$300 to US$470 million provided in December 4, 2018 press release). On a 100% go forward basis from January 1, 2019 assuming a CLP/USD exchange rate of 625, including escalation and excluding working capital or interest during construction.
  2. On a 100% go forward basis from January 1, 2019 including escalation and excluding working capital or interest during construction using actual realized exchange rates until March 30, 2020 and assuming a CLP/USD exchange rate of 775 from April 1, 2020.
  3. The project is currently being funded through the proceeds from the subscription by Sumitomo Metal Mining Co., Ltd and Sumitomo Corporation (“SMM and SC”) for a combined 30% interest in the project and a US$2.5 billion project finance facility.  No significant funding is expected to be required from Teck until the first quarter of 2021. Timing of equity contributions from Teck assumes project finance facility and SMM and SC contributions associated with subscription spent before first draw. Thereafter, project finance facility used to fund all capital costs until target debt:capital ratio achieved on a cumulative basis, after which point project finance and equity contributions are made ratably based on this same debt:capital ratio.
  4. Based on an assumed CLP/USD exchange rate of 850 and on the project’s current estimated CLP/USD exposure.

Prior to the COVID-19 related suspension, the rate of construction progress was increasing steadily week-on-week, and on track to achieve our target rate of +5% per month by Q3 2020. All major contractors were mobilized and the project workforce was approximately 7,800 on site at any time, with a total workforce of 15,000. Numerous construction risks are now behind us with camp construction, other temporary facilities and initial earthworks activities completed. Engineering, procurement and contracting activities are approaching 100% and in close out, which also materially reduces cost risk for the balance of the project. The new estimate for both capital costs and schedule includes updated material quantities and productivities, together with actual contracts and purchase orders in place. Consequently, we are confident in the updated capital estimate and schedule before any impacts related to the COVID-19 suspension.

Update on COVID-19 impact
There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 associated with QB2 employees or contractors at the work site to date. While initially planned for a two-week suspension, project construction activities remain on hold. It is not currently possible to predict when the temporary suspension of construction will be lifted.  Our priorities continue to be the safety of our reduced workforce and supporting Chilean efforts to limit transmission of COVID-19.

Assuming a 4 week construction suspension period, the impact is estimated to be approximately US$75 to $125 million and a schedule delay of up to 8 weeks, including demobilization, suspension and restart impacts. For each additional month of suspension, we estimate an additional impact of approximately US$25-50 million and one month of additional schedule delay. The final cost and schedule impact will depend on timing of a partial or full restart of construction activities, and it is possible that remobilization could take longer if the suspension period is significantly protracted.

During the suspension of construction we continue to advance procurement, manufacturing and other activities not directly related to site construction activities to accelerate future ramp up. Extensive planning continues for a safe and efficient remobilization once the decision to restart partial or full construction is made. Assuming full construction activities are restarted in the second quarter, the soonest we would expect first production is mid 2022.

Teck Media Contact:
Chris Stannell
Public Relations Manager
604.699.4368
chris.stannell@teck.com

Teck Investor Contact:
Fraser Phillips
Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Strategic Analysis
604.699.4621
fraser.phillips@teck.com

NT4

Statement — Coastal GasLink follows B.C. Ministry of Health’s guidance

March 31 2020

At Coastal GasLink, we recognize the need for preventative measures to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. We continue to work closely with Northern Health and government officials in following all directives to ensure our people and the communities they work in are kept safe.

We appreciate the BC Ministry of Health’s guidance to help minimize the transmission within workforce accommodations and confirm that all measures outlined are already in place at Coastal GasLink sites.

Coastal GasLink has led industry in its response to this very serious situation, suspending travel and ordering all non-essential work to be done from home. In addition, prime contractors have halted introducing new employees into workforce accommodation sites as we continue to ramp down for the spring thaw. We will continue to employ residents and local contractors to perform critical activities, including environmental monitoring, pipe delivery and stockpile. Local contractors will continue to undertake some off right-of-way site preparation and maintenance not impacted by spring thaw. All this work is being done in accordance with the COVID-19 directives. Due to the extensive length of the right-of-way, the nature of the work being done, including isolated work such as equipment operators in their own machines, we are able to comply with provincial guidelines for active construction sites and social separation.

We extend our sincerest well-wishes to the families affected and recognize the tremendous efforts of first responders and healthcare professionals worldwide.

For more information about how we are complying with the guidance at workforce accommodation sites, please see our measures to manage COVID-19.

NT4

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