Strengthening a mine with the Power of their Employees: A case study with Teck- Highland Valley Copper (HVC) and Westind Performance

CIM MEMO 2011
Dave Willetts,
Abstract Strengthening a mine with the Power of their Employees:
A case study with Teck - Highland Valley Copper (HVC) and
Westwind Performance
Entering 2009 HVC and its employees examined new ways of
reducing the cost of producing copper. Both the
management/staff and union agreed that the tremendous
uncertainty in the marketplace created a real urgency to ensure
that the company and its employees are competitively positioned
to thrive. The focus for an initiative was not only for the short
term challenges but sustaining the organization for long term
success.
Major challenges facing the Company and the Union were:

• Meeting production and cost objectives within the current
limitations on manpower, hiring and overtime.
• Realization of margin improvements (increased revenue and
lower costs) totaling $40 million on an annual basis.

The Company and the Union shared a responsibility to overcome
these difficulties and did so collaboratively. With Westwind
Performance’s help a performance improvement initiative was
implemented along with a program encouraging ideas around
innovation.
This case study will delve into the Innovation Program (IDEAS);
the startup, challenges, successes and how it is still operating
into 2011. It will highlight the power of observation that our
frontline people have. Over the duration of 2009 over 240
innovations were submitted for a total annualized savings of
greater than $10 million.
The presentation will have co-presenters from HVC and
Westwind Performance.

“… the mine site realized almost $16 million in margin
improvements in 2009, and the overall operating cost of the
property was $20 million under budget, in spite of the various
negative events that impacted the operation during the year. A
large proportion of the mine’s success can be attributed to the
processes and methodologies established with Westwind’s
assistance.”
Frank Amon, Operations
Manager - 2009
Keywords: Improvement, Innovation, Case study, Collaboration, Strengthening
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