Corporate Communications Manager
Anchorage, Alaska – Feb. 17, 2010 – NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA) expressed disappointment today regarding an appeal that has been filed against the renewal of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for Red Dog Mine located in Northwest Alaska. NANA is owner of the mine which is operated by Teck Alaska. The NPDES permit was issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), after completion of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Aqqaluk Deposit – an ore deposit adjacent to the mine’s Main Deposit. The Aqqaluk Deposit would add 20 years to the mine’s life.
"There is no environmental benefit to this appeal,” said Rosie Barr, NANA resources manager. “NANA has worked closely with Teck for more than 20 years to protect Red Dog’s downstream environment and the data proves that. However, this appeal is a direct threat to the social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits our shareholders receive from the mine and that is very troubling to us.”
The appeal also worries other local Alaska organizations. Nine Alaska groups have passed resolutions in defense of permitting the Aqqaluk Deposit to protect the many benefits the mine provides to the NANA region and to Alaska. These groups include:
•Northwest Arctic Borough (NWAB)
•Northwest Arctic Borough School District (NWABSD)
•ANCSA Regional Association
•Traditional Village Council of Kiana
•Native Community of Noorvik
•City of Noorvik
•Native Village of Kotzebue
Currently, more than 300 employees at the mine are NANA shareholders with total mine wages this year exceeding $50 million. In addition to wages, the rotational work schedule at the mine allows many NANA shareholder employees to participate in traditional subsistence activities while holding down a well- paying job.
Aside from individual benefits, Red Dog Mine is the sole private contributor in the Northwest Arctic Borough. Since 2006, the mine payments to the borough have exceeded $34 million. These monies help support schools in the region as well other essential local government services. Red Dog’s operations are also important to Alaska. Since 2006, the mine has paid $250 million in state taxes, and last year alone, payments to Alaska vendors totaled $217 million.
The positive economic impacts of the mine are not the only benefit of Red Dog operations. Before the mine began operations, natural mineralization caused water toxicity. Thanks to the rigorous collection and treatment of mine water, as well as the protection the mine offers, downstream water quality has actually improved. Extensive scientific studies by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) have demonstrated the biologic integrity of the water body has not been harmed, but has in fact been enhanced. To learn more, view the Alaska Department of Fish and Game annual biomonitoring reports at www.habitat.adfg.alaska.gov/reddog.php.
Red Dog Operation Concerns
For the next few months, mining of the Main Deposit will continue under existing permits. The current operating plan calls for a continuation in mining of the Main Deposit under existing permits until mid-2011. However, in order to maintain production rates, Main Deposit ore will eventually need to be supplemented with ore from Aqqaluk. Until EPA issues a notice clarifying provisions of the permit, the entire new permit is stayed and will not go into effect. Until EPA issues this notice, it is unknown to what extent access to the Aqqaluk Deposit will be affected by the appeal. NANA and Teck have both publically stated that any delay in development of the Aqqaluk Deposit extending beyond May of 2010 would likely result in a reduction or interruption of Red Dog production in October, 2010.
NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA) is one of the 13 Regional Alaska Native (ANC) corporations created pursuant to the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA). NANA’s mission is to provide economic opportunities for its more than 12,000 Iñupiat shareholders and to protect and enhance NANA lands. Join the hunt at www.nana.com.