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Teck Resources Ltd.’s TECK-B-T near-term coal production is facing a double whammy because of equipment problems at a major operation in British Columbia and labour unrest at an export terminal.

A “structural failure” of a conveyor belt at its Elkview plant in British Columbia will interrupt production for up to two months, the Vancouver-based miner said in a release. The downtime for maintenance at the plant will reduce its full-year coal production by about 1.5 million tonnes.

Sam Crittenden, an analyst with RBC Dominion Securities Inc., said the equipment problems at Elkview will reduce Teck’s yearly earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization, or EBITDA, by about $233-million.

Teck is also reducing its third-quarter sales forecast to roughly 5.7 million tonnes from six million tonnes, owing to both the outage at Elkview and recent labour issues at the Westshore coal terminal in Vancouver.

Unionized workers at Westshore went on strike on the weekend after failing to reach a new collective agreement with management. The strike resulted in the complete shutdown of the terminal. Westshore, which has operated since 1970, serves Teck and U.S. coal miners.

According to Mr. Crittenden, Teck ships between five and six million tonnes of coal a year through Westshore but it has the potential to switch future shipments to other B.C. terminals, including Neptune and Ridley, meaning the impact from the strike could be minimal.

Teck is grappling with operational issues in its coal division as the commodity itself has started to fall out of favour. Metallurgical coal prices have come under pressure this year because of worries over Chinese demand. The Asian superpower accounts for about half of global demand for metals and mined commodities, including coal and iron ore used in steel-making.

This year, repeated COVID-19 lockdowns in China have crimped factory output. In addition, with many central banks hiking interest rates to try to get a handle on runaway inflation, economists fear that many of the world’s biggest economies, including the United States, will tip into recession over the next year. That would further dampen demand for commodities.

The Globe and Mail reported last year that Teck was actively looking at either selling or spinning off its coal unit. The damaging environmental footprint of the commodity means investors don’t ascribe nearly as much value to coal and oil producers as they do to copper or nickel producers. Teck has also said it is open to selling its stake in the Fort Hills heavy oil project in Alberta.

Even if it holds on to its coal unit, over time Teck’s dependence on coal will fall as it brings new copper mines into production. The company is building a major new copper mine in Chile called QB2, which it hopes to have in production later this year. Meanwhile in 2026, Teck in conjunction with Canadian gold miner Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., is planning to have a smaller copper and zinc mine in production in Mexico.

Shares in Teck fell by 4.4 per cent on Wednesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange to close at $41.30 apiece.