Sen. Murkowski Applauds New Red Dog Mine Development

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today welcomed Teck Alaska's announcement that it was moving forward with development of the Aqqaluk Deposit at Red Dog Mine in Northwest Alaska. Development of Aqqaluk will allow operations at Red Dog to continue through 2031.

"This new mining development at Red Dog will help maintain the economy of Northwest Alaska," Murkowski said. "The mine not only provides high-paying jobs and important tax revenue to the region, but also minerals that play an important role in our nation's economy."

Aqqaluk contains 51.6 million tons of reserves - 16.7 percent zinc, 4.4 percent lead. Red Dog is currently the world's largest producer of zinc concentrate, an important mineral in the production of renewable-energy technologies.

The Environmental Protection Agency is reviewing some provisions of Red Dog's water discharge permit after environmental groups and some Northwest Alaska villagers challenged it in court. The mine's operators believe they have the necessary permits to proceed with the new development while the challenge over the discharge permit is resolved.

"I'm pleased the company has decided to move forward under its existing permits while the administrative appeal is being resolved," Murkowski said. "It's important that our nation develop our domestic mineral resources responsibly to avoid trading dependency on foreign oil for dependency on foreign minerals."

The Red Dog Mine, owned by Teck Alaska Inc., a division of Teck Cominco, has been in operation since 1989. The zinc and lead mine, located some 80 miles north of Kotzebue, is an important economic engine for the Northwest Arctic Borough. The mine is the sole private taxpayer for the 11-village borough, and has paid some $34 million to the borough since 2006. The mine currently employs 516 people, some 300 of whom are NANA shareholders.