Red Dog Mine
Red Dog mine is currently the world's largest producer of zinc. Learn more about Red Dog Mine operations and NAEC's environmental concerns.
The Red Dog Mine is currently the world's largest producer of zinc. It also produces lead and silver. The NANA Regional Corporation owns the Red Dog Mine mineral deposit; the mine is operated by Teck Alaska Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Teck Resources, Limited, a Canadian mining company. In early 2010, the Northern Center joined other native organizations and conservation groups to appeal EPA’s renewed discharge permit for the mine and the State’s certification of that permit because the permit allow for increased pollution of the of the waterways around the mine. Learn more about the permit appeals here. Click here for news items concerning the State's certification of the discharge permit and the EPA's discharge permit.
Red Dog is located 55 miles east of the North Slope Inupiaq Eskimo village of Kivalina along the Chukchi Sea coast and 40 miles from Noatak (click here for map). The mine is in the DeLong Mountains, in a valley in the middle of the western Brooks Range.
Type of Ore and Current Production
The Red Dog deposit is a massive metal sulfide ore hosted in a Mississippian shale and associated with other sulfide-bearing exhalite rocks. Zinc, lead and iron sulfide minerals are the dominant ore minerals, with silica and, to a lesser extent, barite (barium sulfate) constituting the gangue (or waste) minerals. The Middle Fork of Red Dog Creek, now diverted by a series of ditches, flows through the main ore body.
There are four identified ore zones at Red Dog. These are the Main Pit (the mining of which will cease in 2011 or 2012), the Aqqaluk, Qanaiyaq, and Paalaaq. Teck is currently obtaining the necessary permits to expand mining operations into the Aqqaluk ore deposit; all mineral reserves and resources at the Aqqaluk deposit are minable by open pit. Paalaaq is a deep underground resource that may not be economically recoverable under present conditions. Reserves were estimated at 70.3 million tons, containing 17.5 percent zinc and 4.8 percent lead, and 2.8 ounces per ton of silver. Red Dog is said to contain 33.2 million tons of resources which lies in one area . The mine produced 582,500 tons of zinc, 131,500 tons of lead in 2009.
Mining is done by open-pit truck and shovel method, averaging a mining rate of 10,000 tons of ore per day. As a result of high grades, the mine was able to yield a stripping ratio of 0.8:1 (i.e., 4/5 ton of waste rock is mined for every one ton of ore). Because Red Dog ore type and grade varies, several benches in the pit are mined simultaneously and layered in ore stockpiles to provide homogeneous feed to the mill.
Milling consists of sending the ore through two crushing plants (gyratory crusher and semi-autonomous grinding mills) followed by a final grinding phase before passing on to the separation and concentration phases. This consists of a pre-float process — which removes unwanted elements from the concentrate — followed by a series of froth flotation processes that concentrate and collect first the lead, then the zinc. Resulting tailings are piped to the tailings impoundment, while the concentrates are de-watered prior to storage and transportation to the Red Dog port.
Ore concentrate is transported from the mine to the port along a gravel road. Together, the road and the port facility compromise the Delong Mountain Transportation System. Learn more about the Delong Mountain Transportation System by clicking here.
Click here to download a factsheet on Red Dog Mine.
Additional Information and Resources
A 52 mile haul road and the port facility compromise the Delong Mountain Transportation System.
Teck Cominco proposed expanding mining operations into the Aqqaluk deposit in 2007. Learn more about the proposed expansion and NAEC's concerns.
Learn more about Fugitive Dust and NAEC's concerns regarding its impact on the environment.
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last modified Mar 26, 2010 05:14 PM