Teck Resources reports that Teck Alaska is proceeding with development of the Aqqaluk deposit at its Red Dog mine in northwest Alaska. The go-ahead decision followed discussions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concerning the status of the renewal of Red Dog’s main water discharge permit and an internal review of Teck’s operating plans for the deposit. Teck had previously announced in mid-February 2010 that development of the Aqqaluk deposit remained uncertain based on appeals by several environmental and tribal groups.
Teck expects to begin stripping the deposit in 2010 and anticipates the deposit will be the main source of ore at Red Dog over the next 20 years, from 2011 onward.
The Red Dog concentrator processed 865,000 mt of ore during the first quarter of 2010 at grades of 18.9% zinc and 6.3% lead and recoveries of 81.2% for zinc and 64.2% for lead. Red Dog operations generated a profit of $94 million during the quarter, up from $29 million during the first quarter of 2009. The significant increase in operating profit was a result of substantially higher zinc prices, which doubled compared to a year ago. Combined with the higher zinc prices were increased zinc sales volumes, which were 31% higher than during first-quarter 2009 due to the timing of shipments.
The Red Dog mine and concentrator properties are leased by Teck from NANA Regional Corp., a native Alaskan development corporation, and were developed under the terms of a development and operating agreement with NANA.