Sixteen temporary employees at a controversial coal mine in northern BC are returning to China because of the company's concerns about ongoing litigation and its associated costs and disruptions.
HD Mining says it has also decided not to bring any more workers to the proposed Murray River coal project near Tumbler Ridge, until it has "reliable certainty" on the project.
Two unions have been challenging in court the federal government's decision to allow the company to bring about 200 Chinese miners to the community instead of hiring Canadian workers.
The company says the 16 workers participated in underground preparation work on a bulk 100,000 tonne coal sample.
But HD Mining says it needs labour certainty before conducting more work.
The company says it remains committed to the project, noting it will continue work on its housing development and the environmental-assessment process.