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Rumours swirled around Teck Resources that it is planning to spin out its steelmaking coal business to focus on industrial metals.

Although no formal announcement has been made, the mining giant responded to the rumours in a press release that it is indeed evaluating alternatives for the spinoff.

“No decision has been reached to proceed with a transaction, and there can be no assurances that any transaction will eventuate,” the company said. “Teck does not intend to make any additional comments regarding this matter unless and until a formal decision has been reached.”

It was revealed in February 2022 that Teck began seeking out options for its coal division in a move toward mining more industrial metals, such as copper. At the time, it was said that Teck’s coal business was worth an estimated US$8 billion.

Teck Resources (TSX:TECK.A, NYSE:TECK) is one of the world’s largest exporters of metallurgical coal, having produced 21.5 million tonnes in 2022, reflecting a two-month plant outage at its Elkview Operations.

2023 copper guidance and beyond

As the company moves towards more industrial metals, it stated in its guidance for 2023 that its annual production is anticipated to fall between 390,000 and 445,000 tonnes. It said that its QB2 is expected to add more copper production compared to 2022 as it ramps up to full capacity before the end of the year.

“The increase is partially offset by lower expected production at Highland Valley Copper due to harder ore and lower copper grades as part of an update to the mine plan and lower copper grade at Antamina as expected in the mine plan,” the company previously said in a release.

Moving into 2024 and beyond, Teck Resources anticipates copper production to be between 545,000 and 640,000 tonnes per year.

The move towards metals such as copper will put Teck in a strong position to provide for greener energies such as electricity, wind and solar.

Shares of Teck Resources (TECK.A) are up 4.83 per cent on Thursday to $59.70 as of 2:29 pm EST.

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