Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. said Thursday it is aiming to expand its coal production in British Columbia by almost 20 per cent.

Teck runs five mines in the province and has expansion plans for most of them. It may also re-open its Quintette coal mine in northern B.C.

The company's goal is to boost its output to 30 million tonnes a year by 2013, most of it destined for China.  

Company spokesperson Marcia Smith said it will begin recruiting 250 new workers immediately.  

Teck also said it will invest $685 million on improvements at two of its major metals operations in the province.

Firm also plans metals investment

The firm will spend $210 million on increasing the capacity of an electronic waste recycling operation in Trail, where Teck has a major zinc smelter and hydroelectric plant, and $475 million to modernize and extend the life of a 40-year-old mill at the Highland Valley copper mine.

The mine is about 75 kilometres southwest of Kamloops.

"These projects will improve the long-term viability of two of our key operations," said CEO Don Lindsay,

Teck, Canada's largest publicly-traded base metals and coal producer, said it expected work on the Trail project to start next year with completion scheduled for 2014.

"Last year we recycled just over 13,000 tonnes of e-waste at our Trail operations, and this project will significantly increase our capacity to recycle end-of-life electronic components, helping to keep them out of landfills and allowing for the recovery and reuse of valuable metals," Lindsay added.

The Highland Valley investment is expected to increase processing capacity by about 10 per cent and copper recoveries by two per cent. Construction will begin immediately and the project should be finished by the end of 2013.

"We have significantly extended the life of the Highland Valley Copper mine in recent years, and the modernization of the mill makes sense, especially given the expected increases in throughput and copper recoveries," said Lindsay.

With files from The Canadian Press