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Teck mine in Alaska faces uncertainty

Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2010

VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Canadian mining giant Teck Resources Ltd. said Wednesday environmental and aboriginal groups have appealed a decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to renew a permit for the company's Red Dog mine in Alaska.

The Vancouver-based company said several environmental and tribal groups appealed the EPA's renewal of a water discharge permit for the mine, which was due to come into effect March 1.

The appeal was filed by the same groups which last month challenged a decision by Alaska certifying that the same permit complies with the state's water quality standards.

The villages of Kivalina and Point Hope say the permit is putting their health at risk because it allows Red Dog to put mining discharges into a stream residents use for drinking water.

Until the EPA clarifies which provisions of the permit are subject to appeal, the entire permit will be stayed, Teck said. Teck does not yet know whether access to the Aqqaluk deposit at the Red Dog mine will be affected by the appeal.

If the delays extend beyond May, production at Red Dog will probably be curtailed in October, Teck said. It would not resume until the appeal is resolved and the mine can be restarted, which could take up to 18 months.



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