Companies band together to support HD Mining

Trent Ernst, Editor
 
A group of 27 companies from Tumbler Ridge, Grande Prairie and elsewhere have formed Friends of HD Mining, dedicated to supporting the beleaguered mining company.  
 
“As fellow service providers to HD Mining, we feel the need to stand up for a company that has been supportive of all of us,” says James Rae, CEO of Triland International. Triland is the company building the $15-million housing project for HD, and are spearheading the organization. 
 
When they started this project, says Rae, they didn’t set out to build housing for HD Mining specifically. Instead, the plan was to build affordable starter homes for families and workers in the community. “We ran into them at an event put on by council, an industry-developer mixer,” says Rae. “Graham Johnson from our company ran into Jason Zhao from HD Mining. We were planning on having model homes open this year. This has accelerated the plan past the model home stage to first stage, which is 16 duplexes, 32 dwelling units.”
 
Phase two will be another 27 duplexes, but Rae says he’s worried that the current legal battle will put the project into limbo. “There are hundreds of Canadians employed working on this job site, working out at the mine site, and those jobs are in jeopardy.”
 
He says that he’s worked with HD Mining, and in his experience, the things being said about the company aren’t accurate. “They are being portrayed as wanting to bring in cheap foreign labour, and that’s not the case. They want to bring in skilled machine operators that know how to run this longwall mining equipment. I felt like the story wasn’t being told correctly and that somebody needed to stand up and tell the other side of the story.” 
 
So Rae and Johnson began contacting all the companies that had any interaction with HD Mining and asking them if they wanted to support the company. So far 27 companies have signed up. Rae says there are more joining every day. 
 
But why does HD need a group to stand up to protect them? Rae says HD has taken the high road, and are letting things run their course. 
 
“They’ve done everything legal and by the book. We saw nobody standing up for them. We felt it was our responsibility to stand up for them.”
 
For now, the organization’s work is focused on the website, where it hopes to get its message out to the public.