ALASKA – Teck Resources of Vancouver will proceed with the development of the Aqqaluk zinc deposit at its Red Dog mine in the northwest part of the state. The decision follows discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the renewal of the water discharge permit for Red Dog and Teck’s internal review of its operation.
“Our discussions with EPA have been constructive, and after carefully considering the environment, our employees and local communities, we are proceeding with Aqqaluk,” said Mike Agg, senior VP zinc. “We will continue to maintain a water discharge that is protective of water quality and the environment.”
Teck Alaska has the necessary permits and authorizations in place to develop Aqqaluk. In 2010, a supplemental environmental impact statement conducted by EPA concluded that the proposed discharge limits contained in a new water discharge permit for Red Dog were protective of the environment. There is an outstanding administrative appeal of certain conditions of the new water discharge permit. In response to the appeal, EPA has withdrawn five contested limitations in the permit and has stated its intent to conduct an updated permit proceeding once certain procedural matters are addressed.
The appeal of the 2010 water discharge permit and the withdrawal of the contested limits do not affect the Aqqaluk development. Until the appeals of the 2010 water discharge permit are resolved, and EPA’s proposed 2010 permit limits are in full effect, Teck will be subject to the applicable limits in its 1998 permit. As previously disclosed, these limits include a limit on total dissolved solids which cannot feasibly be met through any existing treatment technology at the volumes being discharged. Teck will discharge water in accordance with the court-approved interim discharge limits contained in a 2008 settlement agreement.
Teck believes there is a viable plan in place to resolve the 2010 permit appeal and will continue to work with regulators moving forward.
For more information about Red Dog, the world’s largest zinc mine, visit www.Teck.com.